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Back to Our Future
by Nancy Grindle and DJ Kauffman Correspondents · October 5th, 2017

Great Scott! Marion looked back to its future with perfect weather on Saturday, September 30, during the Swamp Fox Festival. It was a tad bit chilly in the morning, but that was okay with the runners who signed up for the 5K and Kids' Fun Run as well as those who walked.

We enjoyed the preliminary ceremony, with David Dyrland singing of the Star-Spangled Banner, and the surge of runners bursting through the arch at the beginning of the course.

The Kiwanis Club had a good crowd as they served pancakes and all the accompaniments that make for a nice, hot breakfast. While chatting with Council Members Draper and Spinks, we got to meet their companion, Mike McKenna, who had traveled to Marion from Crossville, Tennessee, to be master of ceremonies for the previous evening's 1957 class reunion which was held at the Heritage Center and Museum.

The Heritage Center was to host the reunion for the class of 1962 on Saturday evening as well.

Another interesting event was the Friends of the Library book sale. We met Bob and Sue Schuette on the way into the sale and got to chat a bit with new Marion Independent school board member Diana Zrudsky, who, with Karen Ransom, manned the check-out table. If you wanted a good deal on books, this was the place and time. However, the Friends have well-stocked shelves in the lobby year-round, so if you missed this sale, maybe you'll be able to pick up a bargain or two later this fall.

We moseyed east along 6th Avenue and talked with people who were lining up for the parade. Parade goers, young and old, huddled in lined masses along the brick paved route in Uptown.

A group of Marion Independent High School students sang the National Anthem in harmony, while suckers and Tootsie Rolls were handed out like candy to the crowd.

It was too bad that the MISD and Linn-Mar bands couldn't be there, but they were competing Saturday. One competition was at Prairie High School and another was at Kingston Stadium in southwest Cedar Rapids.

However, the St. Joe's band entertained people along the parade route and some other bands and groups also had musical moments.

As far as vehicles, a lot of Corvettes carried important passengers, such as Paul Rehn, who served as Grand Marshall.

Lots of city departments had vehicles and staff waving and walking along the route. In addition to being in the parade, they did a fine job of helping with crowd control and picking up after such a large audience. The shiny Fire Department vehicles attracted the kids, newly painted tractors added to the fun and pulled floats, and a De Lorean, owned by Tom Yeoman of Monticello, fell right in with the "Back to Our Future" theme.

During the parade, three judges, Darcy Ehrmann with Marion Hy-Vee, Joe Spinks Marion City Council and Stephanie McHale with Skogman Realty, took note of their favorite participants, and were delightfully surprised at one point, by a visit from Back to the Future's Doc, who seemed energized during the event.

Winners of the parade float contest are:

Best Representation of Theme: St Joe's Fun Days (entry #51-52)

Best Entertainment or Performance: El Kahir Shrine Bank (entry #23)

Best Vehicle: Leo's Toys (entry #61)

Best Animal: Back to the '60s (entry #142)

Speaking of cars, the Sunday gathering at Thomas Park was pretty spiffy. There were lots of cars, some restored to their original state, others souped up and carrying all kinds of impressive add-ons.

We particularly liked the fact that a number of younger men had vehicles in the rows. One young gentleman was Chris Knight. His highly polished tan car was a 1920 Hudson. He noted that car manufacturers had all kinds of fancy names for the various attributes and styles at that time. His car sports a Torpedo body style and Super Six for power. This was his great grandfather's touring car and it has been lovingly restored. He gave us a ride and it was so comfortable that it almost begged a person to take a nap - that is, until going over the bumps in the Thomas Park driveway. Nevertheless, it was a magnificent vehicle and much-loved. Our thanks to Chris for the ride, which was a high spot of the day.

Another high spot came when the young fellow right beside him, Tony Farrington, gave us a ride in a shiny green 1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup. Tony told us it was 4-cylinder. His grandfather bought it four years ago. This was the third such vehicle he'd bought and he wanted to rebuild this one. Unlike the Hudson, this vehicle did have a key to start it. It, too, was pretty comfortable (except for the bumps in the driveway).

Pontiac made some awesome cars. Among the Pontiacs at the park was a 1965 2-door GTO hardtop which met the specifications for the Concours Bronze Award given in 2017. It had the original tri-power, 4-speed/close ratio with a 3:90 rear end and Rally 1 wheels. It had 90,000+ original miles. It was completely restored in 2002, at which time the color was changed to its current GM Torch Red.

Dan Eichinger was present with a 1948 V-8 LT1. Dan is from Marion and has worked on the car as he had time for around 17 years. It seats five, with two in the front and a bench seat in the back.

Jim and Carole Canavan were present with a car that had been picked up in a Sheriff's sale for next to nothing. They had reworked the tail lights, head lights, horn and upholstery. It had been in the family from 1972 to 2005 and had run at local drag strips.

David Caghlan had a 1949 Ford Coupe Deluxe. It had been a drag racing car in the late '70s and the front frame was from a 1972 Nova. He had painted it black but has only had it a month and a half. The steering wheel was forged from a piece of chain, which was a snazzy touch. He and his family left with hopes of beating rainy weather home to Shellsburg, as it didn't have a back window in place yet.

All In all, if you are a car enthusiast, you couldn't find a much better mix of vehicles, information and others with a similar interests.

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