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A decorated truck travels down Frederick Ave. as part of a past Apple Blossom Parade. The celebration will return this Saturday. 

Without a festival or barbecue event, the Apple Blossom Parade will look a little different in 2021.

Its organizers said the important thing is that it’s happening.

“I think that we’re excited to be able to do it. We talked and talked for a long time, but I think people want to get out and they’re ready,” Michelle Wolfe, executive director for Apple Blossom, said.

Starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 1, the parade will return after having to cancel in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operating under the theme “Telling Our Stories,” the parade is a salute to the 176th anniversary of the St. Joseph News-Press. It’s a theme that was carried over from 2020’s scrapped parade.

“Once we had to cancel last year, we just decided to go ahead and keep the same theme and to celebrate the News-Press telling stories,” Wolfe said.

Col. John A. Cluck, the commander of the 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, will serve as the grand marshal.

After having to take an alternate route because of construction in 2019, the parade will go back to its more traditional march to Downtown St. Joseph, starting at Noyes Boulevard and Frederick Avenue, continuing down Frederick to Ninth Street, going south on Ninth to Felix Street and ending at Fifth Street.

In a normal year, the parade would feature contestants from the Apple Blossom Pageant and dovetail into the Apple Blossom BBQ. Because of concerns about COVID-19 safety, both were canceled.

“We just felt like we couldn’t risk doing (the pageant) because those girls are up there on the Missouri Theater stage, they are in close quarters. So we are hoping that next year we get back to doing everything as normal,” Wolfe said.

The bright side for the parade is that there will be other events for people to attend after, like the Sound of Speed Airshow at Rosecrans Memorial Airport and the start of Mayfest, with performers like the St. Joseph Youth Chorale and Bel Canto Choir and Brent Isom Trio, starting at 12:45 p.m. at Coleman Hawkins Park.

“There’s still a lot going on,” Wolfe said.

The Apple Blossom Parade is free and open to everyone to attend.

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Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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