Oregon Trail Days Kiddie Parade showcase youth creativity

Hadlee and Harpee Stephens dressed as patriotic superheros as they waved to the crowd. Beaners the minature pony escorted the girls through the 10th Oregon Trail Days Kiddie Parade Friday.

GERING — Kids took to the streets of Gering Friday morning sporting colorful outfits while riding their decorated bicycles, scooters and wagons. The 98th annual Oregon Trail Days celebration continued as the 66th annual Kiddie Parade began at 10 a.m. Prior to showing off their rides and outfits, kids checked in at Oregon Trail Park. Gering Junior High clowns held signs indicating different categories for the parade and keeping the kids in similar groups.

The Kiddie Parade started in 1953 and continues to be a favorite event for kids and families. Mary Robinson said this year’s parade had 491 entrants, which included 45 band members, 10 Boy Scouts, 28 junior high helpers and 11 cheerleaders.

For Brittany Huston of Gering, watching her 3-year-old son, Braxton, participate continues a family tradition.

“I love watching him,” Brittany said.

Braxton was dressed in red, white and blue attire and decorated his bicycle with red ribbon and handle bar streamers.

“We decorated it yesterday because we didn’t want it to rain on it,” Brittany said.

He first participated when he was 6 months old. Friday’s Kiddie Parade was Braxton’s fourth parade.

As the kids found their starting locations, the energy and color surrounding the park continued to build ahead of the parade.

“It’s energetic,” said Aidan Newberry.

Aidan rode a bicycle as he pulled his brother Carson in a Scotts Bluff National Monument decorated wagon. Before arriving on a covered wagon-style design, Penny Businger said they brainstormed.

“We have to figure out how to make a wagon for a child in a wheelchair,” she said. “We thought of building a birthday cake, but we couldn’t think of what Carson would be popping out of a cake as.”

Businger has watched the Kiddie Parade for the past 30 years and said she always sees new decoration ideas.

“It’s just about getting to walk around,” Businger said. “You get to be actively involved in it.”

Another sibling duo that rode around Gering were Harper, 4, and Hadlee, 2, Stephens of Gering. As they made their way around downtown Gering, Harper said, “I waved hi to everyone. I had fun.”

The sisters dressed up as superheroes and were pulled by Beaners, a miniature pony. Beaners is 36 years old and participated in his 10th Kiddie Parade.

Their parents said they enjoy watching them wave at the crowd and seeing Harper and Hadlee have fun.

Following a couple passes around 10th and N streets, the kids enjoyed activities in Legion Park from spraying the Gering Fire Department’s water hose to inflatables.

Trever Davies thought spraying the fire hose at a ball was cool.

“I was happy when I hit the ball,” he said.

The fun will continue Saturday morning with the Bicycle Hill Climb at 7 and the Oregon Trail Days Parade at 10.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.