Given the nastiness of the past winter, and the fact that snow fell in the suburbs just a few days ago, many spectators at the annual Lilac Parade in Lombard on Sunday decided to play it safe.
"I've got a heavy sweatshirt in my bag," resident Marcia Brainard said. "It seems ridiculous, since I just put on some sunscreen. But you never know what the weather's going to do."
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The weather, it turned out, cooperated beautifully, allowing the crowd that lined Main Street to relax in the sun while dozens of school bands, floats, bagpipers and more marched past.
"This is just a nice family event, a community kind of thing," Brainard said. "And the kids love it -- the music, the floats."
Organizers said that more than 100 entries signed up to march in the parade, the theme of which was "Oh the Places You Will Go," derived from the Dr. Suess book.
The parade stepped off Sunday at Main and Wilson Avenue, in front of Glenbard East High School. The school's marching band was one of the parade's early attractions and helped get the crowd in a celebratory mood.
A wide variety of other units followed, from longtime local institutions like the Helen Plum Memorial Library to parade newcomers like the Kelly High School Trojan band from Chicago. As is generally the case, the Jesse White Tumblers earned a roar of applause as they performed for the crowd.
One of the traditional highlights of the parade is the appearance of the Lilac Queen. This year's queen, Kendall Kott, received many waves and well-wishes as she waited with her court for their chance to ride down Main Street.
Resident Craig Bassford said he hopes the parade will be a sign of things to come.
"Maybe this means spring is really here," he said.