Bountiful Handcart Days Parade draws more than 10,000 happy visitors (+photos)

Published: Tuesday, July 23 2013 9:45 p.m. MDT

Thousands come out to watch the handcart parade Tuesday, July 23, 2013 in Bountiful.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

BOUNTIFUL — The Bountiful Handcart Days Parade has been passing in front of Vernon Jensen's little red brick house on Main Street since shortly after he moved in back in 1965.

"It's a wonderful parade," Jensen said. "The kids just love the candy and things they throw out, and I like to hear the bands."

Once any visiting relatives have a seat, Jensen opens his front yard up to any neighbors or visitors looking for a shady spot beneath the leafy trees. The lawn was packed with people Tuesday night, some of whom had never met the homeowner.

"It's exciting," he said, recalling the years he volunteered with the event. "I have a great interest in parades … it's good to see them excited too."

Jensen's home offered a prime view of the parade that organizers said once again topped more than 10,000 spectators. Every spot was taken along Main Street and visitors called out the names of friends and relatives they spotted in the lineup.

"Princeses!" shouted one tot to a group of girls modeling prom dresses for a Cinderella-themed float by Caralyn's Formals.

"That's my school!" yelled a teen as the state champs from the Bountiful High School soccer team passed by.

Though no cry was heard more than children cheering for candy up and down the street.

Among the crowd was Nicholle Montgomery, a Kaysville resident who came to see her 16-year-old daughter march with the Davis High Color Guard.

"This is her first year spinning rifle. She's done flag before," Montgomery said. "She did fabulous … We were all yelling for her, so she heard us for sure."

A total of 93 entries were featured in Tuesday's parade as classic cars, elaborate floats, marching bands and mounted riders all merged onto Main Street from the south at the Five Points intersection. Their approach was coordinated by an estimated 70 volunteers from the Davis County Amateur Radio Club.

"We did our best to make sure no errors happened, but we recovered gracefully from a few minor incidents," laughed Mel Parkes, perhaps better known by his call sign, MN7P. "We had a real good time doing it, and we do every year. We just love to support the community."

Not far from the start of the parade route, North Salt Lake residents Brandon and Jacie Pierce waited on the curb with their two small children.

Caden, 4, was especially excited to see the horses, marvelling at a tall Palomino painted like the American flag. He then rushed back to his parents, announcing "I got two candies," and depositing the taffy in a small bag.

Caden and his 2-year-old sister Danika also enjoyed dancing as several marching bands passed by, and receiving popsicles from the Dick's Market truck.

"I think it's bigger than the Fourth," said Jacie Pierce, noting that her son will make sure the family returns. "We came on July 4th and he said, 'I love parades, we have to come to this one.'"

The Pierces have lived in the area for about a year, and Tuesday was their first time at the Handcart Days parade. It could end up a new tradition for the small family, Brandon Pierce announced.

"We'll be here every year."

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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