Unseasonable Weather Doesn't Dampen Celebration at Belgrade Fall Festival
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BOZEMAN DAILY CHRONICLE - CLICK HERE TO SEE ORIGINAL
Written By: Lewis Kendall, Chronicle Staff Writer
September 17, 2017
The weather may have felt more like winter, but Belgrade’s Fall Festival was in full swing on Saturday.
The combination of light snow and cold rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowds that lined downtown Belgrade for the annual celebration that’s grown into a community cornerstone over the years.
As usual, there were the dozen or so booths scattered in Lewis and Clark Park, selling everything from dresses to framed photographs.
There were community organizations, from the Knights of Columbus to Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter and Youth Dynamics.
And there was the food. Lots and lots of food, the wafting smells watering mouths up and down Main Street. Fry bread, hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones and a handful of barbecue stands, including, of course, the popular, open fire, smoking basketball-sized chunks of meat. All that after the Belgrade Senior Center hosted a pancake breakfast earlier that morning.
One group that had certainly worked up an appetite were the runners, who took part in a 5K through town, put on by the Belgrade Community Coalition.
But the day’s main course was the parade, which led a wide variety of floats, vehicles and groups through downtown to the cheers of onlookers.
“Kindergarten’s where it’s at,” chanted a large cohort of 5-year-olds, dressed in shirts embossed with Belgrade High School’s signature green panther that read “Class of 2030.”
Among them was Amanda Sumida’s daughter, Apryle Sumida.
“She was super excited about it,” Amanda Sumida said. “And I’m just excited to see her.”
Suzanna Porter, whose son, Cody, was also in the parade, admitted that her children were probably more excited about the day than she was.
“They’re like ‘Let’s do it,’” she said.
In addition to the kindergartners, the parade featured Belgrade High’s marching band, as well as vintage cars and the usual procession of emergency vehicles.
For Patricia Karagiosis, celebrating her own 40th high school reunion this year, the festival represents all that is good about Belgrade. Karagiosis, who recently took over the long standing Ladi Bugg salon and also drives buses for the high school, has been to more Fall Festivals than she can count.
And though the yearly events, along with the city itself, have grown over time, there’s still something special about the place she calls home, Karagiosis said.
“Belgrade people are pretty hearty and really support their community,” she said. “I just think Belgrade is a great place.”