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Sunshine and Star Wars at Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest Grande Parade

Hundreds of area residents lined Jamaica Avenue Saturday as the 2014 Strawberry Fest Grand Parade made its way to Cottage Grove Middle School. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)1 / 8
The Cottage Grove Public Safety Department and the Park High School AFJROTC ushered in the 2014 Strawberry Fest Grande Parade Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)2 / 8
Always a popular attraction, the Cottage Grove Fire Department received a warm welcome from those gathered at the Strawberry Fest Grande Parade Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)3 / 8
The Strawberry Fest Grand Marshal and button design winner Gary Riege, left, rode in the Strawberry Fest Grande Parade Saturday with Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)4 / 8
Isaac Gyurisin, 8, of Woodbury, gets marked by a member of the Vulcan Krewe Saturday at the Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest Grande Parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)5 / 8
The District 833 High School Marching Band put on a performance for hundreds of residents gathered at the Strawberry Fest Grande Parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)6 / 8
A member of the Cottage Grove Crime Prevention Board donned a Darth Vader helmet Saturday during the Strawberry Fest Grande Parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)7 / 8
The Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest Royalty got the crowd moving Saturday at the annual Grande Parade. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)8 / 8

Aside from the ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ from the crowd as dozens of floats and performers made their way down Jamaica Avenue Saturday for the 2014 Strawberry Festival Grande Parade in Cottage Grove, the real topic of conversation was the weather.

Sunshine, blue sky and high temps, a forecast that has absent from recent parade years, greeted hundreds of area residents, forcing some to bring out the sunscreen.

The hour-and-a-half parade featured the District 833 High School Marching Band, emergency vehicles from Cottage Grove and around the area, karate demonstrations, local and state royalty, and plenty of candy.

And no “Star Wars”-themed event would be complete without a few Darth Vader, Yoda and Luke Skywalker sightings. Grand Marshal and Strawberry Fest button designer Gary Riege road atop a red convertible with Mayor Myron Bailey and sported a hat resembling the character Jar Jar Binks.

Parade floats from across the state assembled in the parking lot of Crossroads Church, which last year was under construction.

The Grande Parade kicked off the first full day of the 2014 Strawberry Fest, which includes the carnival, strawberry pie eating contest, main stage act Sell Out Stereo and culminating with fireworks.

For a complete list of events for Strawberry Fest, visit www.cottagegrovestrawberryfest.com.

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