One Halloween event takes the cake
Sure, sure, sure. Yes, I know. Corydon was the first state capital and that is a great honor, as it should be. But, right up there in my hall of fame for statehood notoriety is the Corydon Halloween Parade. Some say that it may be the longest-running Halloween parade in Indiana at least, if not the world. Depending on who and when you talk to them.
It is hard to find ‘ in fact, I haven’t found anyone yet ‘ anyone who doesn’t remember going to the parade held on the last Saturday of October when they were young. It has gone through some changes with activities coming and going on the square such as fortune-telling tents, haunted jails, pumpkin-carving contests and ghost stories in the Old Capital, but the real heyday of the parade was the ’60s when the Jaycees were the organizers and sponsors.
Conrad’s Furniture Store on the corner of Chestnut and Elm streets was the central headquarters for judging and the Tri Kappa Cakewalk. At that time, the furniture store had a ‘modern’ glass and cantilevered architecture that was handy for literally overseeing the whole parade. Because of the large, roomy overhang that jutted out over the sidewalk on both streets, you could seat quite a few people who were in charge of the music for the cakewalk and sometimes announcing the parade as it went by.
I remember the Tri Kappa members would start showing up at Conrad’s early on Saturday with cakes of all colors, shapes and sizes. The Maytags for sale in the windows, which were lined up all shiny and white, would be covered in cakes by the time the parade got started. I can testify that these cakes were not made from a box, as my father, who managed the furniture store, often got a cake as a thank you.
The Cakewalk (I think it deserves a capital letter) was always a popular and wonderful event. A big square in the street was drawn in chalk and sections for each person to stand were numbered. I can picture all the Tri Kappas of that time clearly collecting the nickels and waving at the crew up on the platform to drop the needle and start the music. Then it seemed that the contestants would slowly, so slowly, start to move around the square. The music would stop, a number was drawn and you would hear a squeal of delight. A big thank you to all Tri Kappas.
The parade itself, of course, was wonderful with bands always participating and lots of walkers with outlandish costumes. We have another one coming up this Saturday, at 6:30 p.m., and as usual we will be walking the streets with vampires, Dorothys, Yodas and witches galore. I love the silliness and fun of the Halloween Parade and hope it goes on and on and on …
Leah Porter is at the Harrison County Public Library in Corydon on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 1 to 3 p.m.