The Eastern New Mexico State Fair’s (ENMSF) 97th annual parade’s theme, ‘Our Roots Run Deep and True,’ was interpreted through float decorations and song and dance performances celebrating Roswell’s cultural and economic roots.
More than 75 floats, many with live or handmade trees and roots, traveled from the staging area at the Wool Bowl on North Grand Avenue to College Boulevard then Southeast Main Street, and on to the ENMSF fairgrounds at 2500 Southeast Main St. Soft cloud cover maintained a constant barrier against the desert sun during the entire parade, where families lined the streets cheering and waiving to those on floats or walking, on Monday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Adriann Ragsdale, parade superintendent, said this year’s parade went smoothly and she was impressed with the “effort and energy” put into the floats’ decorations and the parade itself. Ragsdale said she appreciated the audience’s and participants’ patience for Monday’s event. She also said the extra effort to slow down — at the staging area and beyond — made this year’s event safe.
Parade winners were announced on ENSF’s Facebook page on Monday evening. Trophies
will be given out at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Trish Lair, ENMSF fair manager.
Eastern New Mexico Medical Center was awarded as the parade’s grand champion, with their themed float and line dance.
Winning the spirit award, Así se Baila Ballet Folklorico featured the 2017 Disney-Pixar film ‘Coco’ with Día de los Muertos — Day of the Dead — masks or face paint and paper flowers.
Even a couple of characters from the movie made an appearance, such as Mamá Coco on the float and Miguel Rivera, who strummed his guitar alongside the float with Héctor Rivera and Folklorico dancers behind him.
Classical Conversations of SNM, a local group representing Christian education resources for homeschoolers, won the judges’ award with kids dressed as pharaohs, princesses, knights and more while signing. Ragsdale said she was encouraged to have new participants in the parade, such as Classical Conversations.
Local law enforcement agencies kicked off the parade with a Roswell Fire Department ladder truck displaying the bunker gear of Jeff Stroble, a fallen RFD driver who was injured in an explosion on June 5 and passed away on July 21.
Reba Stroble, widow of the deceased firefighter, confirmed with the Daily Record on Sunday that she and some of her family members would ride in the truck during the parade.
“… I think a lot of people were very moved by the tribute and we’re very pleased to see the family participating,” Ragsdale said of the feedback from honoring Stroble.
Ragsdale said having the “musical talent” of Dexter High School, Roswell High School, Goddard High School and four middle schools was “exciting.”
“… I enjoyed the fact that it’s really a family event and it’s something that the kids and I and other people can come and enjoy it, sit back,” Fabian Campolla, a parade watcher, said. “My favorite part about it was the band as well, but mine was the Roswell High Band and that’s simply because it seemed as though they had more of a variety of music in theirs and they were actually flowing very well. Their rhythm was good.”
Roswell High School’s dance team, Charlie’s Angels, cheer team and band were all recognized as winners by the judges. Sierra Middle School’s cheer team and Mesa Middle School’s band were also awardees.
Carousel Learning Center won the youth organization award and New Mexico Military Institute’s ‘India’ troop was recognized. Roswell Shrine Alien Patrol, Roswell Youth Football League and Cheer Lady Devils, Friends of Roswell Animals and the Roswell Daily Record were also award winners.
“I think it gets better every year,” Addyson Campbelo, a Mountain View Middle School student, said of the parade.
Evelyn Gomez, another Mountain View Middle student, recognized Church on the Move’s “amazing job” with its double-decker treehouse float with mascots and singing and dancing ‘kids on the move.’ Gomez said she enjoyed the bands and the cadets’ presentations the most.
“It just shows that it’s a tight community and we’re blessed to live here,” Roswell local Jim Cassidy said of the parade, and recognized it is an important annual event for the community.
Special projects reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Breaking news reporter Alex Ross contributed to this report.
For more photos from the parade on Monday morning, click here.