SIKESTON - Those planning on watching the Cotton Carnival Parade this year should take note of its new route.
"This is the first year for the route change," said Blair Moran, co-chairman for the parade. "The route change was made because of a request from the marching bands and we wanted to accommodate their wishes. I think they felt the route was too long."
Moran noted this is not the first time the parade route has been changed over the years. "Some people don't like change," said Moran, "but we hope its a successful parade and won't present any problems."
The parade will still start by coming up Pine and turning onto Malone as it has for the last several years, but will not turn at Kingshighway this year to end at the mall.
"It's a straight shot down Malone and the parade terminates at Scott and Malone just past the Depot," Moran said.
A shorter route will mean fewer areas to set up and watch the parade from, however. "It may be a little more crowded," he said, "but we hope the route will accommodate all the spectators."
The parade will start at 10 a.m. Saturday with participants lining up near the high school beginning at 9:15 a.m.
"The staging is the same - we've had it this way for about 10-12 years," said Moran. "Just the parade route has changed."
Miss Sikeston/Miss Cotton Carnival contestants will stage at the Fieldhouse parking lot. Dignitaries and political candidates will gather at Matthews Street, facing east. Queens, kings and other royalty are to be staged on Kathleen Street headed east. Adult floats entering the contest to be judged will line up on Gladys Street, heading east. Student and Scout floats will stage on Courtney Street headed east. Truck and tractors will line up on Ables Road facing west. "The marching bands all line up in front of the Senior High School," said Blair.
"Marching with the colors will be the Mason O. Yarbrough Marine Corps League Detachment. They're from throughout Southeast Missouri," said Moran. "We'll also have the state commander of the American Legion, Richard Heigert, in the parade."
The grand prize for floats in the adult class is $1,000; first prize is $600; second prize is $500; and third prize is $400.
In the Student/Scout category, first prize is $250, second is $150; and third is $100.
"The theme for the parade this year is 'A Salute to the Troops of Iraqi Freedom,'" said Moran. "That's what the floats were designed around."