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Summer get-together lights up Cottage Grove neighborhood

Leading the neighborhood parade is David Blume, engineer of his handmade Thomas the Train replica that he pushes from behind. He also broadcasts the music for the parade. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner1 / 2
Kathy Arnebeck (left) as the star of "I Dream of Jeannie," and her friend and parade organizer Carol DeBlieck as Pippi Longstocking, just before the neighborhood parade on Saturday morning. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner2 / 2

When Carol DeBlieck comes up with what seems like a silly idea, her neighbors around Iverson Avenue in Cottage Grove just go along with it because they know fun times are ahead.

On Saturday, the fourth-annual neighborhood parade was held for no reason except that it's fun for everyone who participates, including David Blume.

The first year, Blume had the job of providing music for the parade. Because he loves all things railroad, including history, he built a train engine for the second year that he pushes to lead the parade.

Music, and genuine smoke from the engine's smoke stack, lead participants through the neighborhood.

The first year, DeBlieck wore a formal dress for the parade and crowned herself. Since Miss Cottage Grove was taken, she became "Miss Something."

She also has dressed up in a figure skating outfit to shovel snow in front of the house she's shared with her husband, Brian, for 18 years.

"The outfit reminded me of Carmen Miranda," she said. "When you grow up in the middle of 11 kids, you find a way to get noticed."

This year, DeBlieck was dressed as Pippi Longstocking using a coat hander to make her braids appear to shoot out of her head.

"I had the idea last year but my hair wasn't long enough," she said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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