Behind-the-scenes of ND’s largest parade

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The largest parade in North Dakota has come and gone once again.

With over 200 entries, and closing down two major streets in Minot, it takes a lot of planning to make things run smoothly.

Nearly two hours before the beginning of the parade, the volunteers were getting ready for showtime.

“I thought I could just come and help and my kids volunteered to walk in the parade, so I was left by myself,” says Jen Waldner, First Year Volunteer.

The morning started even earlier for others.

“Some people have to go out to the fairgrounds, bring golf carts up here so they can get along the parade route … try to do that by about six in the morning. Some people have been at it a while before that,” says Loren Vannett, Vice Chairman of State Parade Committee.

But the true beginning was several months ago.

“We’ll start once a month in January, February, March, and then every couple of weeks we’ll have meetings,” says Vannett.

Vannett began volunteering with the State Parade committee, with a group from the National Guard, more than 25 years ago.

He later decided to join the committee so he could continue to take part.

“We build good friendships over the years and one of those things where you run into each other, in non-parade time and it’s just good to see them. It’s almost like running into a family member that you don’t see all the time,” says Vannett.

Now, on parade day, he helps organize the volunteers to help the parade run smoothly.

“It’s kind of fun. It’s nice to be out with new people in the morning and just being part of something in the community and seeing how it works,” says Waldner.

Once the parade is over, they review what happened and discuss changes for the next year.

“We’ve switched from big plates that we put out for numbers. Initially, it was little survey stakes with signs on them. Now, we’ve gotten the cones where they hold up a little bit better. Don’t get crushed quite as badly,” says Waldner.

Together, the committee works to improve to the parade and create even bigger smiles for the people who look forward to watching it go by, year-after-year.

Vannett tells us one of his biggest wishes is to see more marching bands added to the lineup for future parades.

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