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Following tradition

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 10:46 a.m. CST

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Having grown up in Monroe, it has always been a tradition to celebrate Monroe Old Settlers the second weekend in August. As kind of an ending to summer, from when I was a baby to now with my own babies, Old Settlers has brought many experiences that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else and memories I will never forget.

Beginning Friday evening, the Kiddie Parade kicks off the events. This year my girls dressed up as hobos for the “Home Sweet Home” theme. I cannot take any credit for the idea or their outfits, it was all my mom. They wore pink bib overalls with frayed T-shirts, knapsacks on sticks carrying their puppies and dirt on their face. In my opinion, they were the two cutest hobos Monroe has ever seen.

Patience is a virtue that is constantly being tested in our house. We tried to arrive as close to start time as possible, but saying just one more minute only worked for so long. When we did finally start moving, my oldest walked along waving and performing like the princess she sees in her movies. 

My youngest, on the other hand, would walk for a bit, stop, sit down, get up and run around, and repeat for the entire two-block route. When we did finally make it to the end where the majority of the crowd sits, she stopped to put on a show, basking in the spotlight. For their hard work, the girls earned second place for most humorous, but I’m not sure if it was for their costumes or their performance.

Saturday morning brought our first time participating in the kids races. Knowing the girls would go first, we made sure to get to the square by the 9 a.m. start time. Not being morning people, the girls took awhile to get geared up to run. After the bike races were complete, the three and under girls group lined up with both my girls ready to go. 

Again, we struggled with waiting at the starting line until the ready, set, whistle, but being our first time out, I was impressed with their attempt. My youngest had a slow start but ran the full distance to her waiting grandparents. She then turned around and ran all the way back, clearly not understanding she had just taken part in a race. My tender-hearted oldest made it about half-way to the finish line before turning back. We’re hoping to finish next year.

Activities continued throughout the morning with a coin toss, where my oldest collected her fortune by searching through sawdust for pennies, nickels, dimes and the prized quarters. Next, both girls signed up to go on a pony ride, but my youngest was unsure of things once she was actually placed on the pony. She bailed about halfway around the circle, while my oldest beamed on top of her pony “Oreo.”

Our final event of the morning was the frog jumping contest. My parents have a decorative pond at their house, which currently houses four to six frogs, depending on the day. Not being one to touch or hold frogs, my husband took over and stood with the girls as they attempted to make their frogs jump the fastest out of the circle they were in. Our frogs weren’t very motivated but I think it was a success that all of them made it back to the pond, no worse for the wear.

After lunch and a low-key afternoon, we got ready to attend the evening parade. I had only been hearing about the parade from my oldest for almost a week, when she found out that a parade would occur. Time and space are concepts that are just now being understood, so telling her that there wasn’t a parade until Saturday was usually a waste of breath.

When we did finally sit down, I had two excited little girls watching the police cars and fire trucks, horses and tractors and many floats go by. With their bucket full of candy and a sucker in their hands, we went to the bounce house one last time before calling it a successful Old Settlers and heading home.

Contact Staff Writer Jamee A. Pierson at (641) 792-3121 Ext. 6534 or

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