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updated: 9/5/2011 5:37 PM

Naperville's Last Fling parade draws crowds

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  • Delaney Miller, 6, Autumn Denson, 6, and Masey Danker, 7, wave as floats in Naperville's Last Fling Labor Day parade pass by.

       Delaney Miller, 6, Autumn Denson, 6, and Masey Danker, 7, wave as floats in Naperville's Last Fling Labor Day parade pass by.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • The Neuqua Valley High School marching band performs during Naperville's Last Fling summer parade Monday.

       The Neuqua Valley High School marching band performs during Naperville's Last Fling summer parade Monday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Ava and Amelia Schlappy of Naperville pick ducks to win a prize during the Last Fling carnival in Naperville.

       Ava and Amelia Schlappy of Naperville pick ducks to win a prize during the Last Fling carnival in Naperville.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Naperville residents Scott Hecht, his daughter Adalyn, 2, his wife Meagan Hecht, and their niece Ryann Furlow, 4, enjoy a trip down the Fun Slide at the Last Fling carnival in Naperville.

       Naperville residents Scott Hecht, his daughter Adalyn, 2, his wife Meagan Hecht, and their niece Ryann Furlow, 4, enjoy a trip down the Fun Slide at the Last Fling carnival in Naperville.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • A Chinese dragon closes out the 2011 Naperville Labor Day parade.

       A Chinese dragon closes out the 2011 Naperville Labor Day parade.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • The Naperville Central High School flag choir performs during the Last Fling Labor Day parade.

       The Naperville Central High School flag choir performs during the Last Fling Labor Day parade.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Floats in Naperville's Labor Day parade make their way through downtown.

       Floats in Naperville's Labor Day parade make their way through downtown.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Children's book character Curious George shakes hands with kids along the parade route in Naperville.

       Children's book character Curious George shakes hands with kids along the parade route in Naperville.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

A Chinese dragon, Curious George, cheerleaders and marching bands from several area high schools punctuated Naperville's Last Fling Labor Day parade and carnival.

Crowds of area residents donning sweaters and fall jackets to keep warm staked lawn chairs or squatted along downtown streets to enjoy the last summer parade Monday.

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School marching bands invigorated the crowds with their toe-tapping beats, eliciting claps and smiles along the route.

"I like the marching bands. I like the energy," said Dave Otto of Naperville. "All the high school bands were great this year. It's a volunteer effort. You see the faces of the kids and it shows, they love it."

Children lined up with bags to catch candy and other treats thrown from floats as though it were a Halloween party.

While most floats promoted businesses or local government and their services, some groups used the opportunity to make political statements such as the practitioners of Falun Dafa, a traditional Chinese meditation exercise banned in China, promoting tolerance, and the followers of the tea party movement giving anti-abortion shout outs.

Gusts of crisp, cool breezes offered parade goers welcome respite from the recent high temperatures in the Midwest.

"We've been having 100 degree weather in St. Louis," said Mary Ann Heaton who was visiting her daughter-in-law in Naperville. "This is such a relief."

Heaton said she was so impressed with Naperville's parade and other attractions in town that she would return next year.

"I think it's fabulous," she said. "I love this town. I walked on the Riverwalk. You don't see that in most communities."

For much of the crowd, the parade offered one last chance for the community to come together before cooler weather forces people indoors.

"It's one of my favorite parades," said 14-year-old McKenzie Pryor, a freshman at Naperville North High School. "There's a lot of floats. A lot of people come (which) makes it fun."

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