the Pleasant Grove Church took the Grand Marshall's trophy. The church congratulated Salem's 150 birthday while celebrating the church's 175th birthday.
Marion County ESDA Coordinator Donnie Brooks served as the parade's Grand Marshall.
The theme was "Salem Strong," and the 2015 Little Egypt Festival Parade didn't disappoint with a strong showing in downtown Salem Saturday.
Judges chose winners in eight categories for floats. In addition, Grand Marshall Donald Brooks had the honor of selecting his favorite float. This year's Grand Marshall's trophy went to Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church. The Church had a large cupcake and candle with their float. Jana Jones with the church says they are celebrating with Salem this year.
"175 years we've been with Marion County. We're one of the oldest churches in Marion County. We're still going strong, so we wanted to celebrate with Salem. They're doing 150 year celebration, we're going to celebrate our God-strong 175," Jones said.
Salem Township Hospital was awarded first place in the large business category. Diane Boswell says they went with a baseball theme this year.
"It goes along with the health fair that we just had. We carried the theme on to the parade. We're going to have children on the float, we're going to be playing the music 'Put Me in Coach (The Centerfield Song)' just reminding everybody that we're here keeping Salem strong," Boswell said.
Second place in the large business division went to Americana. Melissa Ortiz says they chose to focus their entry on their products. "The back of the float is a soccer field basically with a player's bench and then we have some bleachers. Towards the back, we added a pergola and a trash receptacle and a couple benches," Ortiz said.
In the Church category, Evergreen Christian Church claimed first prize followed by Salem Assembly of God in second. Williamson County Shriners were the second place Civic Organization with Salem Strong taking first.
Pollard Motors scored second in the Small Business division, led by Marion County Savings Bank. Kim Turner explains how the bank fit with the parade's theme. "Our theme was 'A Pillar of Strength in the Community.' We thought we were not only Salem Strong, but Community Strong. So we have our big columns, our pillars of strength," Turner said.
Southern Illinois Elite Tumble & Cheer were the first place entry in the Dance category followed by Studio 50. One of the parade's final entries, the horse with the hoop, galloped into second place in the Other category with Little Miss Xenia taking first. The Youth division was led by Little Miss Kell followed by Marion County YMCA.
In the Schools category, Kaskaskia College left with second place, with St. Theresa taking first. St. Theresa Principal Marcia Stinde says several parents volunteered to work on their entry. "Our float is 'Be Someone's Hero and Keep Salem Strong.' We are St. Theresa School and we figured that with God watching over us, we can do anything," Stinde said.
Several bands marched through Salem making music during the parade. Breese was awarded first place for Junior High schools. Centralia Junior High took second place, followed by Iuka in third and Selmaville in fourth place. Breese was also awarded best percussion and Centralia awarded the best auxiliary. The Junior/Senior High division saw South Central take first and Sandoval second.
St. Theresa Grade School's entry took first in the school division.
The Salem Township Hospital floot took first in the large business catagory.
Marion County Savings Bank entry takes 1st place in the small business division.