QUINCY — Dogwood Days returned to Quincy this weekend, with a near-perfect day for a parade and crowds lining Maine Street once again.
Businesses were open, with visitors still wearing masks. Social distancing was a bit of a challenge with the size of the crowds, but parade-goers seemed to be sticking to their individual groups.
Victoria Kelley was one of those who came out for the return of the Quincy tradition.
“It’s really nice to see so many people coming out like this again,” she said.
The morning began with the season’s first Farmers’ Market in Washington Park. Shoppers turned out early for fresh produce and products from area growers.
The parade made its way down Maine Street led by the Quincy High School Marching Blue Devils. The Devils got to 12th Street about 30 minutes after stepping off from their starting point a mile east.
The parade may have been a bit shorter for various reasons. Not as many bands participated, but the Devils were joined by their cross-town counterparts, as the Quincy Notre Dame Raider band and cheerleaders helped bring music to the streets.
Other crowd favorites were present, as well, with mascots from Quincy University and Culver-Stockton College making appearances. The Heidelberg German Band rolled out the barrel for some party music, while both Quincy Medical Group and Blessing Hospital had good contingents represented.
Mayor Kyle Moore made one of his final official appearances, casually wearing some Quincy merchandise and passing out city-seal stickers to the crowd. Mayor-elect Mike Troup was there with Moore, greeting the citizens lining the street.
“We’ve had picture perfect weather the last two days to kick-off the summer,” Moore said. “With the christening of the M/V Quincy and the Dogwood festivities, thousands of Quincy residents have taken advantage of the many family friendly activities throughout the weekend.
“I can’t think of a better way to spend my last weekend as mayor of Quincy than to see our community come alive again,” Moore added. “I’ve had a permanent smile on my face.”
Participating businesses like Refreshment Services Pepsi and Reliable Pest Control returned this year, and advocacy groups for Right to Life and for visibility and equality took their places on the parade stage, too.
One thing in shorter supply this year were traditional parade floats. A handful made their way down the course, but many large, elaborate constructions of years past were noticeably absent. That didn’t detract from the overall effect of the parade’s return this year.
“It’s fantastic,” Dave Stewart said. Stewart is a retired farmer that came to town with his grandkids from his Missouri home just for the parade. “This is always a great thing to come out with the family, spend a few hours, and let the kids grab some candy.”
The barricades on the streets came down as the last entry passed, but businesses were booming after the parade ended. Shops like the Taproom Cafe and the Quincy Brewing Co., both on Sixth Street, were open for shoppers looking for a bite or a drinks, while all the boutique shops were welcoming in those on foot in the District.
As Moore posted on social media, it was “another beautiful Dogwood weekend.”