Float honored Army Sgt. Michael W. Leif, of Lynn Center, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969.

Awards for the Orion Fall Festival parade and winners of the festival raffle drawing have been announced.

The theme for the parade on Saturday, Aug. 31, was “we are ONE community.”

Judges presented the Best of Theme award to the veterans trailer, carrying members of Orion American Legion Post 255 and Orion Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 143. The trailer is dedicated to the memory of Michael Leif, a Lynn Center resident and Orion High School graduate killed in action in December 1969 in Vietnam. 


Right behind the trailer, World War II veteran Elmer Johnson of Orion rode in a 2019 Polaris Ranger. The 97-year-old served in the Marine Corps. Driving the Ranger was Gene Mourisse of Sherrard, who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam.


2019 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion and the Orion post. The national American Legion Auxiliary also was founded in 1919, with the Orion auxiliary founded in 1924. Joyce Alba, a 51-year member of the Orion auxiliary, was introduced to spectators as the Poppy Queen.

Judges gave the Most Impressive Float award went to New Windsor Presbyterian Church, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The float was a ship armed with a water cannon. 

Betty Cramm of Orion won the Most Impressive Vehicle for her 1929 Model A, festooned with flags in front and back. Her son Kurt Cramm drove the antique car.


Madison Andrae of Lynn Center received the Best Horse Entry award for “Daisie’s Crew,” featuring Madison riding her horse “Willie” and leading her miniature horse, “Daisie,”  a registered therapy horse.

The Best Children’s Entry prize went to the float carrying Miss Main Street Orion pageant contestants, which followed a pick-up truck with 2018 Little Miss Kenadie Whitcomb in the back. 


Little Miss contestants were Elizabeth Pettifer, Irelynn Larson, Coralee Larson, Glory Dobbelaere, Grace Dobbelaere, Kaylee Welborn and Aven Vail. Junior Miss contestants were Ella Wardlow, Grace Lilly, Mylie Essary and Lanie Jacobs.


The Most Impressive Tractor award went to Janelle Betcher Gibson for her father Harold Betcher’s 1963 International McCormick Farmall 806.

Lori Dhabalt of Orion sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”


Larry D. Anderson of Orion served as parade grand marshal. He is a long-time community and Fall Festival volunteer. 


Anderson is chairman of the raffle drawing, which was held as the festival came to an end on Sunday, Sept. 1. Twelve winners received $100 VISA cards, and one received a $100 meat bundle from Highland Packing Co. in Colona. 


Winners were Tim Combites, Debbie Carlson, Dave Russell, Chuck Dhabalt, Mike Burnett, Nancy Chandler, Terri Werkheiser, Keifer McCaw, Dave Crippen, Rusty Johnson, Daryl Nelson (two) and Aly Bigham. 


Donors of the VISA cards were BankORION, Coulter Agency, CSI Insulation, DeBaillie Electric, Myers Plumbing & Heating, Orion IGA, Orion Tire & Repair, Papish Home Improvement, Simplex Truck Lines, Svea Mutual Insurance, Walton Tree Service and West Concrete.


Anderson said all raffle tickets were sold, producing $2,500 for the festival.