Grand Marshal

2021 Gladiolus Festival Grand Marshal – Garry Hunte

The Gladiolus Festival Association is proud to announce that Garry Hunte was chosen to be our 2021 Grand Marshal and will be honored in Saturday’s 3 PM Grand Street parade. Garry retired from the Glad Fest Board after being a member for 40 years. He was the parade marshal for somewhere around 25 years, he also served as treasurer for many years. When asked how he got involved, he said that when he was about 22 or 23 years old and his dad owned the Union 76 station at Dixie and 4th streets, they entered the window decorating contest during the Glad Fest. He wasn’t happy that the judges didn’t get out of their car to look at the window when judging and he went and talked to the chairman of the event. After the festival, he was approached by Ova Parish and another board member and was asked to come to the next meeting. He was elected treasurer at that meeting and when he was leaving the meeting, he heard some of the older board members talking and asking each other who is Garry Hunte?

Garry said that the festival has changed a lot over the years and he was always learning from those changes. He described some of the changes he’s seen: the Queens used to alternate years between a resident of Wichert and a resident of Momence; election results were announced immediately after the ballots were counted; and the board used to have about 35 members from both Wichert and Momence, however, only about 15 were active members.

He has seen a lot of creatively built floats and has been fascinated by them. He recalled a Noah’s ark float that was built around a farm tractor, completely hiding it and probably the best float that he’s seen is one built by Baker & Taylor that had a large US flag in the back and an eagle in the middle of the float. One of his favorite memories as a child is watching the parades remembering when the drum & bugle corps were so big that you had to get back from the curb and stand in the grass or you would get stepped on.

Garry has a son Adam and lives in Bourbonnais. He will be honored at the front of the parade and will go back through the parade again and walk with the Hunte Family float.

-Photo courtesy of Momence Progress Reporter