Families turn out for Labor Day parade, despite weather
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent September 1, 2014 9:10PM
After the 16th annual Malden Labor Day Parade, New Hope Missionary Church held a free barbeque in the Morgan Township High School cafeteria, taking donations for the Morgan Township Volunteer Fire Department. Scott Bachert of New Hope said they've raised $10,000 in donations over the eight years they've held the barbeque. | James D. Wolf Jr. | For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 2, 2014 9:58AM
MALDEN — The heavy rain Monday waited until the Malden Labor Day Parade was about finished.
Its threat did mean less entrants, and many noticed the calliope and the Shriners were missing, while Batman put T-tops back on his Batmobile during drizzle and bowed out.
“It was still good. I had a good time,” said Shaney Pletka of Wheatfield, who watched from her sister’s home on Indiana 49.
Pletka and her sister, Kristle Crider of Kouts, said they, five siblings and their families have gathered since the parade began 16 years ago.
The parade serves as a family reunion, as it does for many Malden families. And Pletka’s son now drives a tractor in the parade.
The Morgan Township Fire Department began the parade by showing off new equipment.
There also were a lot of politicians for the election year, plus the East Porter Township Schools band and 4H and church floats.
Paul Pettit of Hebron drove a 1965 Pleasant View Dairy milk truck in the parade for the first time.
Pettit was the last home delivery milkman in Porter County, ending his run in 1982.
Martin Moeller of Valparaiso rode his replica Penny-farthing 1800s bicycle with an oversized front wheel for the second year. This time, he was wearing a bowler hat.
Lee Kleist, parade co-chair and Fire Department Treasurer, said there were less entries but people told them they still enjoyed the parade.
Mike Daniel and daughters Abigail, 10, and Lucilla, 4, moved onto the parade route a month ago, and he plans to invite family next year.
Abigail said she was surprised. Lucilla liked the candy.
Betty Ring of Hobart said she usually goes to Lowell’s parade, “but this was more fun.”
Ring liked the antique tractors, cars and trucks. The large candy and toys impressed her as they did the kids.
“They had some of the best throw-outs I’ve seen,” she said.
After the parade, New Hope Missionary Church had its eighth annual barbecue and fun fair at Morgan Township High School.
Pastor Dave Blue said being a parade marshall was an honor and “we all look forward to this event each year.”