Big crowds gather for Rose Festival parade

STATE CENTER– Fire sirens screeched and crowds of people cheered as American Legion members marched down Main Street Saturday in State Center to start the 56th Annual Rose Festival Parade.

The whole community is here, said a State Center local, that was sitting in a lawn chair outside her home.

“I love my hometown,” said Susie Jackson, 63, of State Center. “The parade is special. I love that families meet up here. It’s small compared to other parades, but it’s ours.”

Heather Morrison, 36, and Amber Downs, 34, both of State Center sat outside their building to watch the parade.

“Every year we watch the parade,” Morrison said. “It’s fun to see the tractors and the nice close community. The whole town shows up. It’s warm and welcoming.”

Bonita Wittey, 66, of State Center, watched her grandson march in the parade.

“It’s a good parade,” Wittey said.

Aiden Knea, 7, Wittey’s grandson, said he had fun marching.

“I got to hand out candy,” Knea said. “When it ended we ate the extra candy.”

Chris (Stoops) Herman came to State Center from Dallas, Tex., for the Rose Festival and her 30-year high school reunion.

“It’s nice to see everyone,” Stoops said. “It’s great to see a small town parade. The whole community is here. It’s fun to be back, it feels like home.”

Following the parade were entertainment, rides, a BBQ contest, a car show and other events.