Cunningham also praised the parade for its child-friendly atmosphere.
“They make sure the kids enjoy it,” she said. “It seems to be their biggest priority.”
Cunningham’s daughter, Zabrena, said her favorite part was the horse that was in the parade and her son, Osten, was quite fond of the tractors that rolled by their front yard.
Terri McKinney echoed Cunningham’s comments about the parade being a way to strengthen bonds throughout the community. After moving to Walton three years ago, she said events like this help her get to know people in town.
“I’m enjoying all the festivities in town,” she said. “I’m not too well known, but I’m starting to get to know new people. Everyone seems really friendly.”
Community ties in Walton were something noticed by outsiders as well.
Nancy Newell, Kokomo, could be found in Walton after the parade Thursday at the stand she runs with her daughters called Ladies in Thread, where they sell their hand-crafted jewelry, knit caps, sandals, blankets, magnets and more at various events throughout the area. It was one of several stands that lined Depot Street Thursday afternoon.
“I just love the people,” Newell said. “They’re really nice and friendly. We enjoy doing crafts but we enjoy the people just as much as anything else.”
Further down on Depot Street, a car show was in full swing.
Steve Estep, of Wabash, visited with people who walked over to see his sapphire blue 1954 Studebaker Champion, which he said he takes to car shows about one to two times a week. Like so many others had said, getting together with people in the community was one of his favorite parts of the holiday.
“I love it,” he said. “Mostly just to talk to the people. I enjoy that.”
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org. News Editor Sarah Einselen contributed to this report.