SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - The American Legion's 71st Annual Cotton Carnival will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Sikeston.
The carnival will be held in the same location as recent years at the Sikeston Jaycee's Bootheel Grounds on N. Ingram Rd.
It will include several rides and games for both children and adults to enjoy.
On Saturday, Oct. 3, the city will again host one of the largest parades in Missouri.
The American Legion organizers are working with Sikeston DPS to make sure participants and spectators have a safe and enjoyable time.
The parade itself will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
At 9 a.m., Sikeston DPS will shut down streets where the parade is being conducted, but Pine Street will shut down at 8:30 a.m. for parade line-up.
This year's route will start at the Sikeston High School Field House. It will go north on Pine St. to Maline Ave., west to Stoddard St. and then the parade will disperse in the vacant parking lots west of Stoddard St.
Participants of the parade are asked to assemble at 9 a.m., but those in front of the parade may need to be there earlier. Organizers ask that you be on time and enter your staging area from South Main because other streets will be closed.
The staging for the parade includes:
- Miss Sikeston/Miss Cotton Carnival contestants - Field House parking lot
- Queens, kings, royalty from surrounding towns - Field House parking lot
- American Legion line-up - Greer St. at Pine (facing east)
- Dignitaries/political candidates (Democrats) - Matthews at Pine (facing east)
- Dignitaries/political candidates (Republicans) - Kathleen at Pine (facing east)
- Adult floats (being judged) - Gladys at Pine (facing east)
- Student/Scouts floats (being judged) - Courtney at Pine (facing east)
- Trucks, tractors, floats (not being judged) - Abless Rd. at Field House (facing west)
Organizers say, like last year, parade participants will not be allowed to throw candy to spectators. Sikeston DPS and parade chairmen continue to see this as a safety issue. In the past, they say participants have thrown candy to children as they passed during the parade. They recognize the potential danger, as many children will run into the street to collect the candy as vehicles are traveling the parade route.
They say any candy must be given out by hand to spectators.
In addition, American Legion organizers are not allowing any "independent vehicles" to participate in the parade this year.
Organizers say this is aimed at those people who are driving in the parade with no purpose or reason to be involved. In years past, they say some citizens have driven personal vehicles (cars, motorcycles, etc) in the parade and were not part of any political association, school or the American Legion but simply wanted to drive their vehicle in the parade.
Those who have not gained prior permission from the Legion organizers will kindly be told to exit the parade line-up. The organizers will also ask those playing offensively loud music and/or vulgar music to exit the parade itself, but everyone is welcome to stay and watch.
Additionally, the only motorcycles allowed are the legion riders and the Shriner clowns.
Organizers say safety is their number 1 priority, and Sikeston DPS will have extra personnel on hand to help with the parade.