The 8th annual World’s Only St. Paddy’s Pickle Parade & Palooza drew thousands Saturday to downtown Mansfield, including space aliens, astronauts and pickle rockets.
The Moon Rocks theme marked the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and inspired creative ideas for the baby parade, main parade and the pet parade.
Russell LaBouve and his 7-month-old daughter, Cade, won the grand prize for the baby parade with their moon rover float. Building the converted wagon meant many sleepless night for the LaBouves, who traveled from Louisiana for the parade.
Being from Mardi Gras country, they’re serious about their floats. Russell LaBouve is a welder by trade so he originally envisioned a moon lander with legs but the project evolved.
“Let’s turn it into a rover if we can, put some wheels on it, put some fake solar panels, I call them our ‘fauxler panels,’” LaBouve said.
He bolted her high chair to the wagon and attached wooden panels for the outside of the rover. “It was a lot of sleepless nights because we didn’t know how we were going to do it.”
After the baby parade, the crowd swelled, claiming their spots along the route for the main parade.
Youngster Evelyn Gregory knew right away which of the 75 floats was her favorite.
“I like the Pickle Queens. You get to throw necklaces,” she said.
Her brother, Izak Gregory, also had a favorite.
“The pickle spaceship was pretty cool,” he said.
Antoinette McClain, a machine operator at Klein Tools in Mansfield, got to be in the parade with her daughter and grandkids.
“It’s the first time I ever came. It was very fast paced. We had a truck, Klein Tools truck. I was walking behind it,” she said.