By MATT KOESTERS
The Henryville Community Day and Parade is an annual tradition in the small Clark County town, and this year’s promises to be bigger than in years past.
Fire departments from across Indiana that helped with disaster response in the wake of the March 2 tornadoes are expected to attend Saturday. The Sellersburg, Lafayette, Charlestown, Carmel and New Washington Fire Departments will be represented in the parade, as well as the Indiana State Police and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
“I think the parade is going to be pretty big this year, because we’ve invited all of the fire departments that came to help do the search and rescue [the night of the tornadoes],” said Mark Furnish, chief at the Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Department. “I think Carmel Fire Department [north of Indianapolis] ... is going to be bringing a truck down. So I think the parade is going to be pretty big just because it’s the first parade back from the tornado.”
Fire department secretary Kasey Taylor estimates that anywhere from 60 to 80 vehicles will take part in this year’s parade, of which 15 to 20 are parade floats.
The parade will stage outside of the Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Department, located at 315 S. Ferguson St., and at 11 a.m. head north along U.S. 31. The parade will end at the Henryville Community Center, located along Ash Street in Henryville.
At the end of the parade route, visitors will find a variety of booths selling everything from food to jewelry. Food options will include soft drinks, fish sandwiches, chicken barbecue, cole slaw, baked beans and funnel cake. Proceeds from food sales will benefit the Henryville Community Association, which operates the community center.
“Most of the food is donated from people in the community,” HCA member Teresa Tanner said.
In addition to food and activities, this year’s festival at the community center will focus on safety. The fire department plans to put on a demonstration of its vehicle-extrication equipment, and it will also distribute smoke detectors to residents free of charge. Residents can either install the detectors themselves or have firefighters come out and do it for them, Furnish said.
The HCA allows nonprofit organizations to use the Henryville Community Center free of charge. The bulk of the HCA’s proceeds from the event will go into operating expenses for the community center, Tanner said.