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      Parade attracts record crowd

      The Boone County Fair kicked off with the countyâ??s most popular parade.

      The City Wide Drum Line and Rhythm Band kept the beat as thousands of people lined the streets of Downtown Columbia for this yearâ??s Boone County Fair Parade.

      Parade watcher Christy Nevels said, â??My boys and I came out to see the parade. We are going to go the fair later on this week.â??

      Parade watcher Sarah Kimbrel said, â??It was awesome. We got a lot of candy. My son got a sucker.â??

      Jeffrey Baker watched his daughter Madison in the parade who is competing in this yearâ??s Teen Queen Contest.

      Baker said, â??She doesnâ??t think about herself a lot. She thinks about other people a lot. Itâ??s neat to have someone so young that sees the world in a different light.â??

      Jessica Kendallâ??s daughter Brittany is running for Fair Queen.

      Kendall said, â??There is a parentâ??s aspect of it. Itâ??s a community thing. The steers and pigs and whatever they show is a family thing. I like it.â??

      A new entry in this yearâ??s parade was the Tigers on the Prowl float. Itâ??s a fundraiser to help 12 Boone County charities including the Honor Flight Program that sends veterans to memorials in Washington D.C.

      Honor Flight volunteer Steve Paulsell said, â??The focus is on the 12 tigers on the trailer. They have been sponsored by various businesses here in the community. They were painted by local artists. They will travel around the community through October at various fundraisers. They will be auctioned off.â??

      The weather was perfect for this yearâ??s parade. Organizers said it was their biggest turnout in history.

      Boone County Commissioner Karen Miller said, â??It is a big tradition. Iâ??m so excited. It is the largest crowd that Iâ??ve seen in the parade and watching the parade in years.â??

      The Boone County Fair kicked off Saturday afternoon with a 4-H and FFA Horse Show.

      The event goes through Sunday July 27.