The chair of the Saline County Fair & Rodeo Parade believes it is an event that cannot happen without the support of the community.

Tom Wallace said many fairs have lost their parades due to their communities losing interest, but Saline County's midway is still going strong each year with 130 to 150 entries in the parade and thousands expected to line up along the route. 

"We have a good parade and we want to keep it going," he said. 

The Fair Necessities themed parade will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 3, with participants lining up no later than 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot of C.W. Lewis Stadium. The route will travel down Market Street, over to Main Street, and end at the Benton Fire Department's Central Station. 

Wallace said the theme is all about the things that make the fair what it is, such as livestock, crafts, quilts, baked goods and more. 

He feels that each year the participants put much imagination into creating floats that fit the theme. 

He hopes to see a wide variety of fair entries from school groups and Scout troops to churches, car groups and more. 

"We welcome them all," he said. 

Any horses that enter the parade must have a negative coggins test and owners must have proof with them. 

Wallace plans to have three judges awarding first, second and third place for floats and antique cars. The first-place in floats receives $100. Second place earns $75 and third gets $50. The antique car winners take home plaques. 

The parade organizers ask that participants not throw out candy, but hand it out instead. 

"We don't want anyone to get hurt," Wallace said. 

He also asks that parents be mindful of their children and not let them in the road where they could get hurt. 

Wallace is proud of the community support the parade receives each year. 

He especially wants to see several floats in the parade. He said people love to see the floats. He also hopes to have all the school bands take part. 

Wallace believes the county also has a good fair and he likes that there is no admission fee, simply come in and see everything. There are fees to play games, ride rides and attend the rodeo and bull riding. He said many attendees enjoy just walking through the fair to see the carnival and displays. 

Wallace encourages the Saline County community to come out and enter the parade or watch the fun.

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