With sunny skies and a gentle breeze, it was a perfect day for Carter Lake Community Day Saturday.

The annual event kicked off with a parade at 11 a.m. at 13th Street and Avenue K. Sandy Caddell, Citizen of the Year, was honored as Grand Marshal.

The local tradition has been held for at least 30 years, said Keebie Kessler, chairman of the Carter Lake Parade/Festival Committee. This year’s crowd was about like last year’s, he said.

“Our parade was bigger this year,” Kessler said. “We had 62 entries in our parade.”

Participants included “Star Wars” characters, classic cars, golf carts decorated to Mardi Gras and other themes, the Carter Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Carter Lake Citizens Patrol, Carter Lake Improvement Club, Carter Lake Optimist Club, Ponca Smoke Signals, Carter Lake Boys & Girls Club and other local organizations and businesses.

Sandy Black, who lives near the parade route, watches the parade every year.

“I get up here and get a pretty good seat,” she said.

After the parade, the focus shifted to Mabrey Park, where games, craft tables, food stands and vendors were set up. Children seemed to especially enjoy the festival, and the vendors were making sales, Kessler said.

Steve Walters of Omaha was there for the third year selling his wooden signs and yard/garden decorations. The signs touched on such weighty subjects as “duck tape” and happy hour. “Why limit happy to an hour,” one sign asked.

He shared a booth with Ginette Walters of Omaha (no relation) and Chris Smay of Council Bluffs. They were selling handcrafted items such as kitchen towels, oven mitts, pillowcases and even dresses for young children. (Cyclone fans, do you have your Iowa State University pillowcases yet?)

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Traffic was “pretty steady,” and people are always friendly, Ginette Walters said.

Holly Jorgensen and her daughter, Lauryn, 11, came all the way from Sloan to sell merchandise from Thirty-One Gifts. Items on site include designer backpacks, tote bags and purses.

Connie Kramer had a booth at the festival for the first time offering Connie’s Creations. Her crafts included hot pads made of yarn woven on a frame, trivets of hand-painted ceramic tile, suncatchers and decorative magnets.

Carter Lake is one of many southwest Iowa communities that holds special events during the summer. The Clarinda Fly-in & Air Show will be Saturday at the Clarinda Municipal Airport. For more information on Iowa events, visit traveliowa.com/calendar/.

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