It can’t rain on Marshalltown’s parade

A much-needed, but poorly timed rain didn’t stop the Oktemberfest festivities from going on Saturday morning.

And it didn’t dampen any spirits, either.

Hundreds of onlookers lined Main Street for the 27th Annual Parade, which featured more than 100 float entries. The theme for this year was Carnaval’ which is a Spanish festival held each year before Ash Wednesday. Carnaval’ is usually celebrated with music, parades and costumes.

Ben Brown Sr., of Marshalltown, said he’s been coming to the parade since it started 27 years ago and he loves what the whole festival has to offer.

“I’ve been coming for a lot of years,” he said. “I like seeing the floats and I like the carnival. It’s so nice out here.”

David Vilez, an employee of JBS in Marshalltown for 39 years, served as this year’s grand marshal. Vilez was all smiles and thanked the crowd in both English and Spanish as his convertible made its way down Main Street.

Saturday’s festivities kicked off with a pancake breakfast in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the annual 5K and 10K run. More than 150 runners, joggers and walkers participated in the event.

Denny Grabenbauer, master of ceremonies, said Oktemberfest is called Iowa’s Best Family Fall Festival because of how the community responds to the yearly festival.

“It’s the community that comes together to show this off that makes it the best family fall festival,” he said. “Whether it’s vendors or participants, they all come together.”

Grabenbauer said this is an event that people look forward to all year long.

“I think people in Marshalltown can’t wait for this parade,” he said. “It’s a No. 1 hit in the community.”

Country singer Joe Diffie and Iowa band “Lonesome Road” concluded Saturday’s festivities with concerts at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The inclement weather forced the Joe Diffie concert to move indoors.

Oktemberfest wraps up Sunday with a pancake breakfast at the Coliseum from 8 to 11:30 a.m., the barbecue and chili cook-off at noon and the motorcycle show and rodeo at 1 p.m.

Food vendors and the carnival will be open from noon to 5 p.m. at the courthouse square.