Think back to 1984, Ronald Reagan was President, Lakeside Speedway was still on Leavenworth Road, the Space Shuttle was still new to us, the cold war was winding down, phones still had cords, a home computer???, we were studying Fortran and Cobol in college, Dale Earnhardt was hooking up with Richard Childress for the second time, Riverside Stadium was still racing, I-70 Speedway was a dirt track, and North Kansas City did have a casino. Several events were about to start, many have become history, but the first Snake Saturday parade was a March around the Rodeway Inn. In 1985 it took to the streets of North Kansas City.
This event has grown from just a parade to several events which encompass a week of events. Snake Saturday begins with the Grand Marshal Celebration, followed by the Lad and Lassie Event, the night before the Charity Cookoff, and consummates with the Snake Saturday parade and Festival. Over the course of the last 29 years over $1,000,000 has been given to various northland charities. C.A.R.B. has been a part of this event since 1992, providing the car show in the festival area. There have been as few as 23 cars to as many as 92 over the years. Racers have come, displayed their cars, let children sit in their cars, signed autographs, met their fans, and a few have even gained a sponsor or two. Tracks have come and shared their schedules, their rules, their registrations, their pace trucks, their drivers, their fans. This year NASCAR Camping World Truck Driver Jennifer Jo Cobb will be in the C.A.R.B. area signing autographs, meeting her fans, and helping with the bicycle drawing for the children. Each year the event gets bigger and better. Everything in the festival area is designed for children to enjoy free, except of course the carnival.
There are a ton of volunteers and businesses which make this event grow. North Kansas City opens their arms to all the visitors, businesses gain customers, the city gains commerce, and the city comes alive with the parade. The group Northland Festivals, Inc created by Mickey Finn and several others puts on this event. The NKC barbeque was a part of this organization for several years and has moved on to the Rotary Club. The volunteers put on all the events mentioned above. They spend most of the year working in their areas to improve their product, whether it be the parade and all the volunteers needed to organize and keep the parade moving, the businesses which loan us their parking lot to hold the festival, the administrative staff of the organization which prepares the documents, the ribbons, the checks, collects the sponsorships, distributes tickets, prepares the speeches, the judges which observe every float and entry and score accordingly, to the city staff which moves snow, orders port a potties, closes off roads, provides security, opens up city hall, paints the green line, gets the stages delivered, it truly is a community event. So when you attend the parade this week think of everyone who makes it happen, from the racers to the workers to everyone in between.
For this 30th parade please also remember the man who started it all, Mickey Finn. Come have fun, enjoy, and remember this is our 30th because of Mickey Finn and Bill Grigsby.