Staff Photo: Camie Young
McKenzie Patterson, from left, Mary Grace Auld and Madison Rousseau watch as Doodles the Clown creates balloon animals during a party event at Snellville City Hall, where people waiting for the canceled city parade were invited inside Saturday.
SNELLVILLE — Red Hat Divas spent hours decorating their float for the annual Snellville Days parade.
But when the rain caused officials to cancel the parade, the big birthday cake simply became the centerpiece of an impromptu 40th birthday bash for the festival.
“The only thing we are disappointed is we didn’t get to see the assembled float,” said Sandy Korschgen. “But it translated well. ... We’ve had fun, and that’s the major thing.”
With a rainy weekend bearing the possibility of flooding, Mayor Kelly Kautz called off the parade for only the second time in its 40 year history. The two-day festival was also canceled.
With participants gathering in City Hall’s parking lot, Kautz opened up a planned VIP breakfast to anyone. Instead of thousands gathering at Briscoe Park, about a hundred milled around in the community room, including a beauty queen and a goat.
Members of a Brownie troop still got their faces painted, played with balloon animals and danced with the Chick-fil-A cow and other entertainers.
Nelson Williams, a life-long resident who served on the City Council when the first Snellville Days parade was held, said a lot has changed over the years, but rain usually doesn’t get in the way of a good time.
“There will be another year,” he said.
Kautz, who has memories of creating floats as a girl for her dad’s hardware store, said she had to put people’s safety before the event.
But even the rain outside couldn’t dampen the spirits in City Hall.
“This is what community is all about,” Kautz said, as she surveyed the smiling faces around her, “not parades, but people coming together.”