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Waiting for the Spirit of America bike parade to start is the aspiring Miss Point Mallard 2020, Carolyne Bibbee, 7. She won first place in the 5-to-8 age group in the parade.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Waiting for the Spirit of America bike parade to start is the aspiring Miss Point Mallard 2020, Carolyne Bibbee, 7. She won first place in the 5-to-8 age group in the parade.

Young riders show their spirit
Parents spend hours getting bikes, cars looking perfect

By Emily Peck
epeck@decaturdaily.com · 340-2408

It was red and blue children with anxious parents at the bike parade for the Spirit of America Festival.

Children scooted back and forth on bicycles Wednesday while adults scurried, adding last-minute tape and streamers to their patriotic creations at Point Mallard Park.

“We’re just in it for the fun and to make memories,” said mom Melanie McDonald. Her sons, Jacob, 5, and Elijah, 2, entered the contest.

While the parade may be fun for children, it’s work for parents.

“We spent about two hours making the designs,” said McDonald. “The children are still too little to do decorations, but they get to help.”

Variety of entries

Entries ranged from incredibly elaborate to simple and fun. Many children wore costumes to match their rides, with some donning patriotic hats and bandannas.

Balloons, flags, and red and blue garlands decked out many entries. One contestant sported a poster of Uncle Sam on the back of her bike. Although most children rode bikes or wagons, a few entered miniature jeeps and tractors.

Clumsy the Clown taught the children songs and led the parade in a red golf cart from T.C. Almon Recreation Center. Capt. Mike Mallard, the park’s mascot, was waiting for them at the parade’s finish behind the Spirit stage.

Davis Roberts, 21/2, picked up first prize with his sparkling red and blue wagon with pinwheels in the 0-to-4-year age group, stroller /wagon category.

“The parade is a family tradition,” said Jennie Roberts, mother of Davis and 9-month-old Miller Roberts, who also rode in the parade.

“I’ve been doing this ever since I was little,” she said.

The Robertses spent a few hours decorating the wagons with sparkling tinsel and flags.

With red and blue hair trimmed in ribbons, Erica Widell won first place in the tricycle category for the 0-to-4 age group.

A patriotic doll accompanied Erica atop her tricycle.

The parade’s own Miss Point Mallard, Carolyne Bibbee, won first prize in the 5-to-8 age group.

Dressed as a pageant queen with flowers and a crown, she rode in a patriotic purple jeep.

Seven-year-old Carolyne even made the gold and black glitter costume all on her own.

She aspires to be Miss Point Mallard when she gets older and was excited about the pageant that evening.

9-to-12 age group

Winner among the big children was Ashley Archer, who snagged first place in the 9-to-12 age group.

Ashley labeled her ride the “American rock star bike” and dressed the part with a jean jacket and hair dyed blue with red yarn.

Twenty-seven children competed in the 0-to-4 age group, 27 in the 5-to-8 group and 12 in the 9-to-12 group.

Jennifer Robinson coordinated the event with First American Bank sponsoring.

Jessica Headley, the reigning Miss Point Mallard, handed out medals to the winning children.

Among other activities available for children at the Spirit of America Festival was Redstone Federal Credit Union’s children’s tent.

Children got their faces painted and played games like Go Fish and Duck Pond throughout the afternoon.

A state trooper helicopter flew over the Spirit field for the pingpong-ball drop.

Compass Bank held Money in the Haystack, where children got to dig through stacks of hay for cash.

Spirit of America Festival children’s events sponsors

  • Redstone Federal
    Credit Union — children’s tent.

  • First American Bank — children’s bike parade.

  • Compass Bank — Money in the Haystack.

  • Wyker’s Toys.

  • Point Mallard.

  • Carnegie Visual Arts
    Center.

  • Chick-fil-A.

  • Golf Shores.

  • River City Lanes.

  • Great American Cookie
    Co.

  • The Learning Tree.

  • Funland Golf Course.

  • Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q.

  • Papa John’s Pizza.

  • Skate Castle.

  • Pepsi.

  • McDonald’s.

  • Off the Wall.

  • Chuck E. Cheese’s.

  • Little Feet Boutique.

  • Johnny Miller Photography.

  • Vendors from the Spirit of America Field.

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