As part of a pre-homecoming celebration for the Mount Union College football game, a giant snake dance took place across campus as described in an article of The Alliance Review from November 12, 1937. The snake dance was followed by a fiery parade, a rousing pep rally, and a bonfire. Three local students, all male, filled prominent roles in the festivities as lead cheerleaders: Joe Coulter of Sebring and Bob Griffin and Bob Lemmon of Alliance. Edgar Turkle also presented a message to the students at the bonfire.
In 1859, the four Haines brothers plus six other young musicians banded together to form the city’s first marching musical unit. The first memorable activity of the band prior to the Civil War, was a brief concert at the railway station in February, 1861, when Lincoln passed through Alliance on his way to Washington to be inaugurated. The Civil War brought a period of inactivity with the loss of four of its members to the army. At the close of the war, however, the band was reorganized in 1866, with Columbus Haines again assuming the Directorship. After several years, the band lapsed into inactivity again, this time for about twenty years. Members came out only at Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations. In the late 1880’s, Chalmers Hudson, Harry Shaffer, Sym Donaldson, and Billy Shoemaker reorganized a group of twelve musicians and assumed the name of the Alliance City Band. Included were some of the members of the original unit, that group formed the nucleus of the Alliance City Band which has been a continous active organization since that time. In the early days of 1906, the band underwent a complete change, bringing in new methods and talent. Frank P. Atherton, then in charge of the theatre orchestra, was asked to wield the baton.and the band with a roster of thirty men rapidly began earning a reputation for itself throughout the state.
Very little is recorded for the next decade until Emil Rinkendorf of Canton was asked to direct the group in 1917. Thus began a golden era of musical presentations. During World War I, the band played for Liberty Loan Drives and served as a great morale booster at weekly band concerts during the summer months. Under Rinkendorf’s direction, the band played for many years at the Canton fair grounds and accompanied Knights Templar and Elk delegations, playing in such cities as Wheeling, East Liverpool, Cincinnati, Cedar Point Columbiana, Congress Lake and Cleveland. A winter concert was usually held at the Columbia Theatre or the High School auditorium. Rinky, as he was affectionately known, was a nationally known musician and at one time was invited to become director of the United 8tates Marine Band. His excellent work attracted attention among Alliance Talent until in 1938, the band boasted a roster of fifty members. The great musical career ended February 26, 1940, only one day after the Alliance City Band played its winter concert in his dedication. (from Alliance Memory)
Today’s Carnation Festival Grand Parade steps off from Alliance First Friends Church on West State Street and Fernwood Boulevard and ends at Union Avenue and Broadway Street. From start to end it lasts about 2 hours and begins at 11 a.m. But this wasn’t always the case.
The first Carnation Festival was held June 27 to July 2,1960, with the grand parade on June 29, 1960. The Alliance Review of June 29, 1960 declared “Biggest Parade in Decade Will Move Thursday. The Carnation Festival Parade, biggest and best since the centennial celebration a decade ago, will make a four-mile tour of the city, Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m.”
Twenty-two decorated floats and five area bands participated and the newly crowned Carnation Queen Pat Novellino and attendants Bonnie Moore and Ann Daskalov made their formal bow to the city. The first parade chairman was Paul Cook.
The route began at the College Plaza on the east end of State Street, proceeded west to Mount Union Square, turned north on South Union Avenue, headed east on Main Street and ended at the Viaduct. It was dark by the end of the parade!
As Days in the Park became more popular, the parade time was shifted to 3 p.m. in 1981 and today is 11 a.m. Also in 1981, the parade route was changed to begin on West State Street and Fernwood Avenue and end at Union Avenue and Main Street. Today, the parade ends at Broadway Street.
For parade pictures, visit Alliance Memory.