ESKO — A crowd gathered along both County Road 61 and Canosia Road to watch as cars, floats and even horses went by as part of the Esko Fun Days Parade on Saturday, Aug. 6.
Esko Fun Days, the week-long event, is celebrating an all-class reunion this year, as in 2021 the school district celebrated its 100th graduating class.
The parade was made up of a variety of different types of floats and vehicles, from a pontoon boat, to a Model T Ford and even a 1924 "two horsepower" Esko school bus.
The children who came to watch the parade were busy cheering and picking up candy thrown by those in the parade.
Other than the many reunion floats, the parade had young Esko hockey players skating alongside their car, Esko teachers handing out pencils and candy to children, and Mike's Cafe and Pizzeria towing the May Prachar Band playing polka music.
But children weren't the only ones enjoying the candy.
Diane Bordwell said her 97-year-old father Duane Arnston was taking home a goody bag of candy as well.
Bordwell hadn't been to a parade before since she had moved to Chicago, but said the all-class reunion was a great reason to visit her father, who is a World War II veteran.
"There is a lot of participation and that is nice," she said. "It is nice to see so many young families; the community is growing."
Gretchen Maslowski, a graduate from 1992 who helped to coordinate the event, said having an all-class reunion made it a little more challenging this year.
Maslowski said there are many more pieces than when she had helped organize her own class reunion where all she has to do is send out a message to their Facebook group.
"This is a little more involved and there was a lot of people that really worked hard and got all the classes (together)," she said.
Despite it being a little harder to organize this year, Maslowski said the turnout has been one of the biggest since she has been coming to the parades.
During the class of 1992 mixer held earlier in the week, Maslowski said a classmate has a granddaughter starting school in the fall and she will be a fifth-generation Esko student in that family.
"That is amazing to me that there are so many generations right here in town," she said.
James Aman, a graduate from 1988 who now lives in the Twin Cities, said coming back for the parade reminded him of the sense of community Esko has.
It had been a few decades since his last parade, but Aman said it was great to see so many familiar faces again and recognize people he hadn't seen in years.
"It has gotten a little bigger and the weather cleared up and made it impossible to say no to," he said.
Aman said his favorite part of the parade was watching the first float go by, which was a semi with a flatbed holding alumni on the back.
"You can't watch something like this and not have it boost your spirits," he said.
While Esko has grown since he left, Aman said there is still a real sense of community.
"It is still the same old Esko it used to be." he said. "There are a lot more people ... but it still hasn't lost that sense of a small town, small community and caring people."
1/17: Members of the Esko High School classes of 1949 and 1984 ride in a 1924 Model T automobile while members of the Esko football team push the vehicle along on Canosia Road during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
2/17: Ellie Ruuska, 9, of Esko, reaches into a plastic bowl to grab candy to toss to spectators on East Highway 61 as part of the Esko Hockey group during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
3/17: Kids patiently wait for candy to be tossed while attendees look on during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday as floats move along Canosia Road.
4/17: Jayden Ecklund, 10, of Esko, dribbles a basketball between his legs while on the sidewalk on East Highway 61 ahead of the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
5/17: LesLee Peterson, of Esko, looks on while sitting at the Esko Sideline Squad table outside of Mike's Cafe and Pizzeria ahead of the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
6/17: A float commemorating 100 years of Esko Schools sits at rest on East Highway 61 during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
7/17: A rider in an Esko fire truck tosses candy to spectators along East Highway 61 during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
8/17: A young girl runs back to the sidewalk on East Highway 61 after picking up candy that was tossed during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
9/17: After picking up some tossed candy, Bronx Hudspith, 4, of Esko, looks to see if there's any additional candy that has yet to be collected on East Highway 61 during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
10/17: Riders, including a real dog and a mascot dog, went for a ride in a pontoon boat that was used as a float for Carlton County Animal Rescue as part of the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
11/17: Participants in the float and gathering for Esko hockey ride and skate on Canosia Road during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
12/17: A golf cart for the Pine Hill Golf of Carlton float featured as bubble maker as riders prepare to throw candy to spectators during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
13/17: Staff members for Mini Mos Child Care and children ride in a trailer as part of a float in the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
14/17: Members of the Esko High School football team ride on a float in the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
15/17: Tait Erickson (No. 23) of the Esko High School football team prepares to throw candy to spectators on East Highway 61 while riding in a trailer as part of a float in the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
16/17: Spectators along Canosia Road look on as floats pass by during the Esko Fun Days parade on Saturday.
17/17: Tony Scherber of Esko displays a peace sign with his left hand while walking along Canosia Road on Saturday after the Esko Fun Days parade.