St. Joseph, Missouri, was established by Joseph Robidoux in 1826 as one of the first fir trading outposts in the region. Since then, the city has become one of the state's top destinations for outdoor activities, large scale festivals, and historic attractions. Without leaving the downtown area, visitors can visit the Pony Express Museum, see the unique architecture of the Buchanan County Courthouse, and shop at a variety of upscale boutiques.
The Apple Blossom Parade has been a mainstay in the community since 1924, and it’s the third oldest Apple Blossom Parade in America. The event will take place May 6, beginning at 9:30 am, following Frederick Avenue through downtown St. Joseph. The theme of the parade is “Miles of Smiles,” and organizers expect creative interpretations of smiling faces throughout the event. Attendees will see colorful floats, decorated vehicles, and a variety of live entertainment options. Kids will love the vibrant atmosphere, and of course candy along the parade route. Once the parade wraps up, patrons can enjoy the great shops, historical sites, and restaurants. We got the chance to interview Michelle Wolfe, a representative of the event, to learn more about this great community gathering.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
MW: The first year the Apple Blossom Parade took place was April 24, 1924. The Parade stopped in 1940 due to the WWII and resumed in 1946. We had another stoppage in 1967 and resumed in 1974.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MW: There are typcially between 85-100 entries.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
MW: The event attracts families from all over the area.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
MW: The Apple Blossom is the oldest and longest running parade in St. Joseph, MO. It is also the one of the oldest Apple Blossom Parades in the United States.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
MW: Here is the schedule:
9:20 a.m. Apple Blossom 5K Run
9:30 a.m. Apple Blossom Parade
After Parade: NW Missouri Children's Advocacy BBQ contest, and Downtown First Saturdays
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
MW: The Apple Blossom Parade is our annual rite of spring. It celebrates the joy of rebirth and recognizes the benefits of community. We’re proud to be Americans, so every unit in the parade sports one or more U.S. flags. All funds raised by entry fees go back into scholarships for royalty in the annual Apple Blossom Pageant as well as operating costs for the pageant and event. The parade cuts across social, economic, geographic and racial boundaries, welcoming all to join in on the fun and festivities.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
MW: People should come to the event to enjoy a fun, old-fashioned community parade. Participants and spectators alike build memories from their involvement with the Apple Blossom. Memories are part and parcel of the parade, with folks remembering the year it snowed the day before the parade or the year that the Budweiser Clydesdales led the parade, or the year the grand marshal was one of St. Joseph’s oldest residents.
All good memories. All part of the Apple Blossom Parade. Around here, everybody knows what the first Saturday in May is. It’s Apple Blossom Parade day!
For more information about the Apple Blossom Parade, please visit the event website.