Ottumwa celebrates Oktoberfest with a grand parade

Thousands turned out for the annual Oktoberfest Parade in downtown Ottumwa.

One of the largest parades in the Hawkeye State took place Saturday, bring out thousands of people to downtown Ottumwa.

For over two hours, thousands braved the cold to watch, but also participate in the 39th annual Oktoberfest Parade.

KTVO's John Garlock was on candy duty, handing out pounds and pounds of candy to the willing, and honestly, it was not that hard to get rid of.

Besides the free candy and other free goodies, some floats in the parade carried a message.

The Ottumwa Fire Department's float promoted fire safety week.

"The float is designed to promote fire prevention week next week, which is planning two ways to get out alive. We kind of got the little house, and the kids are riding on it, simulating that they are meeting at the meeting place," said Assistant Chief Mike Craff of the Ottumwa Fire Department.

For current students and alumni of Indian Hills Community College, the parade meant more, being that it is homecoming week.

The King and Queen took a few minutes prior to the parade to tell KTVO what it means to hold those titles.

"It means a lot to be put on the court because being nominated by a team kind of shows that you are looked at as a leader and then being on the float, it is cool that you get to represent your school," said Kaitlyn Matzen, a sophomore at Indian Hills Community College.

"It is a really great community and the town really backs everything up too, which is great," said Billy White, a sophomore at Indian Hills Community College.

As many know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and for the group from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in southeast Iowa, the parade is a great way to promote Breast Cancer awareness.

Bonnie DeMoors came to the parade with her pink tractor, and she says it is a great way to promote their worthy cause.

"I thought, you know I could do something to help somebody; and this is what I am doing to help somebody save their life. It is very important for everybody to do it. I mean, you don't realize that just a mammogram could save your life," DeMoors said.

Next year's parade will be the 40th Anniversary.