Parents plan parade to honor FHS seniors

A date is yet to be officially decided as organizers want to comply with proclamation rules.

FAIRFIELD — A group of parents of Fairfield High School seniors is organizing a parade to honor this year’s graduating class.

Tammy Thomas, mother of FHS senior Rachel Thomas, is one of the organizers, and said the parents hoped to pull off the parade on May 22. However, based on a recent proclamation from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, it appears that gatherings of more than 10 people, including parades, will not be allowed until May 28 at the earliest. Thomas said Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator Brett Ferrel is contacting state officials to be sure, but right now, the parents are expecting to have to delay the parade from the original date.

“We wanted to do something to recognize the kids for their accomplishments and to celebrate them,” Thomas said. “Honestly, the kids have been waiting for something like this to happen.”

Thomas said the idea is to have the 112 members of the senior class sit 6 feet apart on trailers. Hinshaw Trailer Sales of Richland has volunteered the use of 20-25 of its trailers for the parade. Local police, sheriff’s office and firefighters are all planning to participate.

“Those trailers are such a tremendous help for us. Now we don’t have to scramble to line that up,” Thomas said. “We’re going to place an X on the trailer where the student should sit. We’ll have a few decorations on there, but it won’t be Homecoming exactly. We just want the community to see the kids and cheer them on.”

Thomas said her daughter and her daughter’s friends are excited for the parade.

“They’ve been waiting for something like this so they can get out of the house and celebrate, too,” she said.

The parade was scheduled to occur at 6 p.m. May 22. Though that date will likely change, the time of day probably won’t. Thomas said the new date could be a weekend or weekday, and since it will be in the evening, she hopes a large number of people will be able to see it.

The parade won’t start at the high school like a typical Homecoming parade. The high school will not officially be involved. Instead, the parade will start at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

“The fair board was wonderful for letting us use that as our starting and stopping point,” Thomas said, who added that the parade’s new date will depend on whether organizers can use the fairgrounds that day. The parade will proceed east along Burlington Avenue, turn south on Sixth Street to go past Pence Elementary School, and then east on Filmore Avenue past the middle school. It will go all the way to D Street, and then turn north to Madison Avenue right next to Washington Elementary School. The seniors will wave to the residents of SunnyBrook Living Care Center on Highland Avenue. The parade will circle the square and then head back to the fairgrounds.

“It’s a long route, and we hope that everyone on the route will be mindful of social distancing,” Thomas said. “We want to have this parade for the kids so they can enjoy it.”