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October 7, 2012

THE HARVEST SPIRIT: Parade launches annual New Albany festival

NEW ALBANY — Leaning against the Bud’s in Bloom building along Spring Street, Chase James and Zack Gunther waited for the Harvest Homecoming Parade to make its way downtown.

Though the cool fall air had been ushered in by the rainfall of the night before, the sun shown on the young men’s faces as they discussed their reasons for attending the festivity.

James said he was there mainly to see his niece, who rode on one of the dozens of floats in the parade. The event is a great time to enjoy kids at play, he continued.

“I think it’s nice to let them come out here and enjoy themselves,” James said.

Like James, Gunther lives in Clarksville and came to New Albany on Saturday to take in the scenery.

“This is actually the first time I’ve been to the parade,” Gunther added. “It’s just a nice little day to hang out and be with friends.”

He admitted they weren’t just there to watch fire trucks and antique cars parade through downtown. With a grin, James said they wouldn’t mind running into a few “hotties” during the autumn afternoon.

As evident by the shrills and girlish sighs as he passed by, New Albany native, actor and parade grand marshal Josh Dallas wasn’t hurting for attention. Two teenage girls ran toward his float as he neared the Bank Street intersection of Spring Street, and he had the driver of the blue Ford Mustang he sat atop halt the car for a quick picture with the two.

Obviously pleased with having an arm around Dallas as their picture was snapped, the girls ran back to the sidewalk bellowing as if they’d just seen The Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

Sires from fire engines blared while a wagon carrying passengers dressed in 1800s clothing to celebrate New Albany’s upcoming bicentennial passed by. New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan and his family waived at people who lined up on the sidewalks to get a peak at the floats, and a giant fake pumpkin was pulled along with its bright orange color reminding spectators that the season has changed.

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Permanent lighting is being installed on the handrails of the Big Four Bridge.

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