With gray skies that looked more like mid-October than mid-July and temperatures to match, the 2013 North Dakota State Fair Parade kicked off with a chilly start. The parade started with the Run the Route 5K race at 9 a.m. followed by the parade at 9:15.
The cool weather didn't stop the throngs of people gathered all across both sides of Burdick Expressway, who were full of smiles and good cheer, as well as excitement to see Minot local turned Hollywood celebrity Josh Duhamel, who was this year's grand marshal of the parade.
Listed as No. 10 in the parade lineup, Duhamel, clad in a neon yellow-green baseball hat, waved to the crowd from the backseat of a gold classic Oldsmobile. Not only did spectators snap photos of him and ask to have him pose with them in their photos, but Duhamel, in turn, snapped photos of the crowd with his smartphone.
Actor Josh Duhamel, a native of Minot, greets some fans when they ran up to him as he goes by them on Burdick Expressway in the State Fair Parade Saturday in Minot. Duhamel was the parade grand marshal.
After the excitement of seeing Duhamel, parade spectators watched the rest of the floats and other entries roll past, while children raced partway into the street to retrieve candy. Some businesses and organizations got creative and handed out sunglasses, blown-up balloons, hockey pucks, or freezer pops.
The clowns were also sent in, some on foot and others on motorbikes, as well as the Minot Fire Department, the Minot City Band, Center for Family Medicine, Gymagic Gymnastics, the American Legion and many other businesses and organizations. The parade featured more than 200 floats.
More than 500 runners took to the street for Run the Route and parade watchers cheered the runners along as they waited for the first float. Most of the watchers were bundled up in blankets and fleece jackets. Kari Kvigne, from Minot, who was with her family to watch the parade, said, "After I see Josh, I'm going back to my car to get my blanket."
People were also excited to see the parade. Jason Zimmerman, originally from Pennsylvania who has lived in Minot since 2000 was at the parade with with his family. He said they have been coming to watch the parade for eight years since his daughter is that age. "We just like it (the parade) because it's fun for the kids and it's a good day for everyone to get together." Zimmerman's friend, Ricky Wuori, who came here from Oregon, joked that he was excited because he got to see Duhamel.
Delores Baer and Patty Deckert drove from Dickinson to see the parade this year. This was their second time seeing it, but they have attended the State Fair since 1979. "We're enjoying it," Baer said. "Everything about it has been fun."
The parade route ended at the fairgrounds. Participants in the parade received free admission to the fair for the day.