COAL CITY — For a brief time Saturday morning, downtown Coal City turned into the Wild West.
"The Buckaros' Wild West" children's parade down Broadway Street was one of the events Saturday morning to kick off the 27th annual Coal City Octoberfest sponsored by GFWC—IL Coal City Junior Woman's Club.
Every year, the children's parade has a different theme, and this year they went with a western theme, said Pam Carlton, children's parade committee chairwoman.
About a dozen children participated in the parade, which was led by three horses from the Sunrise Center Therapeutic Riding Program in Coal City. The children followed behind carrying the "Octoberfest Kiddie Parade" sign and all decked out in cowboy hats and boots.
Five-year-old Avery McConnell of Coal City was one of the sign holders and led the other kids with pride.
"She's wanted to do the parade all week," Avery's mother Kelly McConnell said. "My son is walking in the big parade for karate and she was upset. So I told her she could do the kiddie parade, and that made her happy. And that she got to wear her boots."
Avery's six-year-old brother Declan McConnell was also in the parade.
"The best part was holding the sign!" he said.
The kiddie parade went beautifully, said Julie Stiles, president of the woman's club. Spectators, including her, love to see the kids all dressed up in the theme.
"They're the parade, and they love it," she said.
This was the second year for Nicole Mack's children and nephew to walk in the parade. They live just down the street from the festivities.
"It's something fun for them to do. They like to dress up in costumes," Mack said.
Octoberfest attracts 2,000 to 3,000 people every year, Stiles said. The event has food and craft vendors, local entertainment, inflatables, a petting zoo and a talent show. Saturday afternoon there was a large parade with about 50 floats.
"We love it. We come every year. The kids love the petting zoo," McConnell said. "Even though it's cold, there is still stuff to do."
This year, the proceeds of the fest will go toward purchasing a new welcome sign for the village.
"The old sign is 10 years old. We want to update or replace it," Stiles said.
This will probably take a couple years to accomplish, she said.
For more information on the Coal City Junior Women's Club, visit http://ccjwc.net/home.htm.