Plymouth's Kiddie's Day parade brings back rich history; adds to 2nd Friday

PLYMOUTH — Mary Beth Listenberger remembers participating in the Kiddie’s Day parade when she was young with her cousins. Now she is helping to organize the event as part of Plymouth’s second Friday festivities downtown.
“It’s just clean and simple fun without it being a big expense to families,” said Listenberger.
The Kiddie’s Day parade began in 1915 when Plymouth salesman Bruce Joseph (1859-1937) put it together for the city’s children, gathering funds from local businesses himself. It was originally a summer event and a winter event, and widely popular with residents. A 1960 Pilot News article had this to say about the event:
“Anyone who ever as a child knew the thrill of participation in Kiddie’s Day is emotionally in debt to (Joseph).”
Joseph’s gravesite was honored in a special ceremony in 1960. It is now marked with a marble stone that reads:
“Bryan Joseph, 1859-1937, Originated ‘Kiddie’s Day’ in year 1915.”
Listenberger said that she enjoys hearing Kiddie’s Day memories from now grown participants.
“One of the most fun things is to listen to older locals reminisce about their Kiddie Days,” said Listenberger. “It’s like bringing the past to the present.”
The Kiddie’s Day parade is sponsored by Plymouth FOP Lodge 195 and Delta Theta Tau Sorority. Line up is at Centier Bank in downtown Plymouth at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8. The parade will begin at 6 p.m., led by juggler Al Eisenhour, who will serve as parade marshall. Also in attendance with be Art (Heminger), the balloon man. The parade is for children under 12 and their parents, and no motor vehicles are allowed on the parade route.
“It’s a nice added touch to our downtown celebration,” said Listenberger, adding that she would like to thank Jim Vinall and Brian Fernbaugh for organizing the second Friday events.
In addition to the parade, Kiddie’s Day will involve old-fashioned games such as clothespin drop, cornhole, and bag and ring toss. Area businesses participating in Kiddie’s Day include A.S.K. for Flowers, Na Rie, Fiesta Mexicana, Fernbaugh’s, and Yoder’s Sports. The Plymouth Public Library will provide popcorn, and the Historical Society will keep their train station open and running for the evening.