HOF Parade experience

I just got back from being in the Hoover Company Grand Parade. The parade is one of the biggest events of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival.

I’ve marched in the parade one other time. This year was a very different experience.

Six trumpet players were asked to play on a float carrying a Stark County Courthouse Angel. The courthouse had 4 “Trumpeters of Justice” angel statues added atop the clock tower in 1890. The angels were brought down in 1998 because the 80-foot tower they were on needed to be rebuilt. While they were down, the angels were restored and painted gold.

An angel has been on display in the Canton Cultural Center for the past 6 weeks. For the parade, an angel was fitted on a float. The angel is about 11 feet heigh and weighs 450 pounds. There were volunteers who walked alongside the float to make sure the angel didn’t have any mishaps. The float had to swerve through some intersections becuase the tip of the wings would have hit a streetlight.

We were invited to the AEP building at 6:30 to have some breakfast. I did’t know this, but the AEP building is where all of the dignitaries are invited. While I was in line for bacon and eggs, Marcus Allen was in front of me and Joe DeLamielleure was right behind me. Elvin Bethea was further ahead in the line.

Since I had my camera with me, I was really tempted to ask Mr. Delamielleure if I could take his photograph. I watched him play with the Cleveland Browns in the early 80s. He was an important member of the miracle “Kardiac Kids” in the 1980 season.

We didn’t get to hobnob for very long. An official came in the room and invited all the enshrinees to a “special” room set aside for them. After they left, the Kansas City Cheerleaders entered the room, all decked out in their makeup and cheerleading outfits. Just at that moment, our guide said it was time to get going to reach the float in time. I sure wish I had taken more pictures!

The weather was threatening at 5 am as I was driving to Canton. However, the rain held off while we were going down the parade route. I’m glad it didn’t rain because none of us had any rain gear. The temperature was also very comfortable. It was perfect weather for long sleeves, thank goodness.

After the parade, we were offered a shuttle van to get us back to the staging area, where our cars were parked. When I got to the lot with my car, it was completely blocked off. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find an official who was able to get some people to move the barricade so I could get out.

As I drove home, I listened to the parade on WHBC. There were groups just stepping off as I pulled into my driveway at 9:45 am. It was an very enjoyable experience that I’d be happy to do again.

Here’s a couple pictures taken before the parade.
Eating breakfast
Group photo
The angel This is a large picture (~850K). Note the straps around the angel to hold it in place.

If anybody who reads this (which is nobody) has pictures from the parade of the angel float, I’d love to make a copy of your photograph.

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