They got sunglasses, coupons, Frisbees and even shirts.
But come on, a parade for a kid is really only about one thing.
The candy is the best, 9-year-old Ajada Johnson said. You cant argue with the candy.
Ajada and her cousins were a few of the thousands of children who flocked downtown on Saturday to enjoy the 44th Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival Parade, presented by Lutheran Health Network.
The sweets were so important to Ajada and the rest of the girls that they brought bags in preparation for their haul.
Makayla Young, 8, and Ashontis Steel, 10, agreed that candy was one of the real draws of the parade. While watching the two-hour event the girls would yell out for a float they enjoyed or a character they recognized.
Kimora Dial, 5, shouted a princess! when some of the pageant winners drove by.
I liked the princesses and the candy and the cars, Kimora would later say.
The parade, one of the signature events of the festival, had a theme of Community Landmarks & Legends. About 130 groups or organizations were expected to participate. The parade took its usual route, starting in the West Central Neighborhood and finishing just north of the Rousseau Centre, near Headwaters Park.
Lance Cpl. Brandon Long of Fort Wayne served as the grand marshal of the event. He was wounded in Afghanistan.
Temperatures in the upper 70s through mid-80s and shade helped give viewers a near perfect day for the event, although many parade participants were obviously heating up. Santa Claus had to jump into his air-conditioned pickup after waving to the crowd.
The parade included numerous familiar faces from Nintendos Mario to the Fort Wayne Komets touring with their CHL Presidents Cup, and of course, the Mizpah Shriners were present in numbers. Star Wars storm troopers guarded Darth Vader, along with some sand people – who for some reason werent riding single file to hide their numbers.
Cee Lo Greens Forget You made a return appearance this year, but instead of being played by a marching band, the edited version of the song was blasted by the Allen County Special Olympics.
Like most other parades, this one was a hit with the kids. Other than the obvious affection for confections, the group of girl cousins stressed a fondness for cars.
Ajada was interested in Mercedes.
The appeal of vehicles was obvious and simple to explain for 8-year-old Acacia Dial.
I get to drive when Im 16, she said.