The Lilac Festival Parade 2011

Crowds gather early for the Lilac Festival Parade each year.

The Lilac Festival Parade begins at 4 p.m. but Marquette Park is filled with bands, dancers and other performers throughout the afternoon delighting the crowd with wonderful song and dance! Around 3 p.m. the streets are cleared of all bicycles and horse drawn carriages in anticipation of the Lilac Festival parade!

When the crowd hears the bands far in the distance they soon know they will see the lifelong Mackinac Island resident Don “Duck” Andress, dressed in his finest Indian garb. "Duck" as he is known on the Island has led the parade for 39 years since the first Lilac Festival parade sixty-two years ago.

"Duck" and Carl Andress (2nd rider in the parade) are great-great-great-grandsons of Chief Mackinac and great-great nephews of another native American, Henry "Eagle Eye" Andress.

This year two other native Americans were honored to ride with "Duck" and Carl Andress, brothers Don and Darold Keith. Don Keith who owns the Chuckwagon on Mackinac Island found that his heritage shows one of his ancestors was Chief Okemos from East Lansing and was a nephew of Chief Pontiac. It definitely was a proud moment for all to see and to recognize the importance of native Americans' heritage is for Mackinac Island and our country.

Lilac Festival Queen, Adrienne Rilenge, and her court in the 2011 Lilac Festival Parade.

Of course, the Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island is not complete without a Lilac Queen. Adrienne Rilenge was crowned to be the 62nd Lilac Queen by her fellow students at Mackinac Island Public School.

There were all sorts of bands and military members marching in the parade. It's great fun to count all the American flags that were proudly displayed during the parade.

Great fun was had by all...the floats were spectacular with the two favorites being the float reminding children and parents that helmets are the safe way to go when riding a bike on the Island. Of course, Mackinac Island bike helmets are with the design of a turtle!

The "can you believe it float?" was Shepler's Ferry with the board game "Battle Ship" being their design!

Of course, there were beautiful horses everywhere in the parade. Don't miss being at next year's's one of the best parades in the country many Mackinac lovers believe!

Mackinac Island Lilac Festival Parade 2011 was simply grand!

To learn more about last year's Lilac Festival Parade in 2010 click here.

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