The Chapman Labor Day celebration is a tradition going back more than a century.
This Labor Day Weekend marked the 110th festival. It started Friday and culminated Sunday afternoon with the traditional parade.
For about 35 of them, including this one, Tim Rutz, has been riding in the parade as the Shriners clown.
Known also by his clown name of Timbo, Rutz said he enjoys bringing a little happiness to people’s lives.
“I enjoy making kids happy — and older people,” he said.
He’s been taking part in the parade since he was a clown. Rutz said that he felt attendance had fallen somewhat in the past 35 years, but otherwise the festival seemed much the same as it used to be.
For Monday’s parade, he brought his five-year-old nephew, Cash Emig, also dressed in clown makeup, to ride with him and throw beads to the crowd.
Cody Shifner came from Abilene attended to watch his girlfriend take part in the parade. He’s a regular at the celebration, having been present for the past five years.
He said he likes “just being able to come out and see all the people I haven’t seen in a while.”
Aaron Bryan of Chapman attended to support his two daughters who marched in the parade. He has had family members taking part in the parade for about 11 years.
He liked to see “a small town coming together.”
Doug Deweese of Abilene attended for the car show. He brought along his girlfriend, Trish Mather, who enjoyed the arts and crafts that were available from vendors throughout the event.
“We’ve known about this event for a lot of years and the car show draws me in,” he said.
His mother is a retired school teacher from Chapman who worked in the district for about 30 years.
“I guess it was always a way to support the community — to show up and visit with some of the vendors and buy a few things,” Deweese said.
Sister Loretta Jasper of Neighbor to Neighbor was one of those vendors this year.
“Chapman is important to us because it’s within Dickinson County,” she said.
The Abilene-based group serves the entire county and taking part in events such as the Labor Day celebration helps keep them visible.
Jasper enjoyed meeting people and felt the group’s presence in Chapman would keep people engaged. This was the group’s second year at the event and Jasper felt the crowd was more responsive to their group members because they recognized them from last year.
Melody Hawkinson of Melody’s Jewelry Box was another vendor who said she had great response from the crowd. This is her eighth year at the festival as a vendor.
“The people are so friendly and we just enjoy the whole thing,” she said.