Organizing parade runs in the family
Casey Case rattles off years like an auctioneer: 1947, ’57, ’62, ’67, ’72, ’77, ’82, ’97, 2012.
It’s Tuesday afternoon, and those are the classes he knows will have a presence in Saturday’s Old Settlers Day parade.
But Saturday is still a long time away in Old Settlers Day land.
“It’s not last-minute till Friday,” he says.
Case has learned a thing or two since taking over organization of the parade after his father, Alex, died.
He knows who’s likely to sign up late. He knows to save a few spots for people who just show up Saturday. He knows not to sweat things too much.
For 23 years, he’s kept track of entries and created an order for the parade. He also serves as the parade’s announcer.
“Right now, I’ve only got a handful signed up,” Case says.
Churches and other groups will round out the parade, “but the main emphasis is the class reunions,” he says.
Organizing a parade isn’t easy, he says, but “when you’ve done it this long, it usually falls into place. It’s all about being organized and being ahead of the game.”
On Thursday, he will arrange the lineup and hand it off to a parade lineup committee.
“On Fridays, they’ll put numbers on the ground, and when entrants show up Saturday morning, they’ll tell them what number they are and they’ll go line up with their number.
“Saturday morning is pretty hectic. I always leave a couple extra spaces for late arrivals. People will get out of order. I wing it when I see someone who’s out of order.”
He’s relieved that the forecast for Saturday calls for cooler temperatures — in the 70s Saturday morning.
“It looks like it’s going to be a pretty nice day,” he says.
His aunt, Janice Case, who lives in Overland Park, plans to be in the parade to be the sole representative of the class of 1947. A classmate who lives in the area doesn’t leave her assisted living center.
Janice Case says she’ll attend Old Settlers Day for as long as she can.
“I love Marion,” she says. “I still bank there, and I still consider it home.”