The Alton High Marching 100 created a stir with its presentation during the Alton Memorial Day Parade. The Marching 100 was considered one of the biggest hits of the parade. (Photo by Dan Brannan)

The 2015 edition of the Memorial Day Parade in Alton followed a long-standing positive tradition for young and old alike.

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The weather for the parade was picture perfect and the streets in Upper Alton were lined with people in lawn chairs along the route, as usual.

East End Improvement Association is the main sponsor of the parade, but this year it honored the Alton Area Optimist Club as the parade marshal. Don Huber, a parade spokesperson, said he didn’t recall any group being selected as a sponsor before, that it was normally an individual. The Optimists handle most of the activity involved on parade day, while East End organizes the event. The Optimists have been affiliated with the Memorial Day Parade for many years.

“It was great weather and a great day,” Huber said. Huber is the Alton Township supervisor and an organizer of the event.

The Alton High School Marching 100 was again a hit, dazzling the crowd with its marching and music in their red uniforms.

“The Marching 100 is always so impressive,” Huber said. “People do appreciate them. There was a lot of spontaneous cheering for them and that is pretty neat.”

About 40 units participated in the parade. The Alton Police Honor Guard marched for the first time in the parade, as did several Alton Fire Department members. VFW Post 1308 had a group march and there were several other military organizations displayed in the parade, which distinctly honors the military.

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Several civic organizations, some church groups, Scout troops and more joined in the marching.

The Alton Memorial Day Parade is the oldest consecutively running parade in the country. The parade started in 1868, just after the end of the Civil War.

Alton Mayor Brant Walker walked in the event and said he thought it was once again a “phenomenal parade.”

“Words can’t do justice to the sacrifice the men and women in the military of this community left,” he said. “Being a mayor of a city with the heritage we have back to the Civil War and how the community turns out for veterans makes me feel very humble.”

LaJarvia Brown, far left, and Alton High School track and field teammates Katie Mans and Jewell Wagner, ride in the annual Memorial Day Parade in Alton. Brown won the state championship for the second straight year in the triple jump. The other girls captured state medals.(Photo by Dan Brannan)

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