The city of Dayton celebrated its annual Dayton Heritage Day on Sept. 21, beginning with the dedication on Susan McLean Park and Paul Plude Gardens at noon.
Many of McLean’s and Plude’s family, friends and neighbors gathered in remembrance of their lives. Dayton resident Rick Durant first spoke about Plude and his services to the city of Dayton. Plude was a military veteran, a volunteer firefighter and former mayor of Dayton. He was known for his caring smile and sharp listening skills. Those that knew him described him as a gentleman and friendly to everyone he met.
“Paul was always willing to give more than he got,” Durant said.
Kevin Anderson and Tony Heinz shared their musical talents throughout the ceremony, because, as McLean always said, “Live music is good for the soul.”
McLean founded the tween town girls camp, a nurturing and confidence-building organization for the next generation of young women. She also founded the Langer golf tournament, which was bigger than ever this past year.
“Hopefully today and all of the tomorrows going forward, it will not only be about what Susan did with her life, but (what) the people she touched and loved the most will do because of her life,” Durant said. “This is where Susan learned to go with the current when you could and go against it when you had to.”
Following the park dedication, family and friends gathered at the McNeil building for refreshments and snacks. Dayton residents prepared for the parade by setting up blankets and lawn chairs and children anxiously awaited the candy tosses from the floats with empty buckets they planned to fill.
The parade began with a cheer, and visitors welcomed many sponsors in vintage cars, buses and floats. Parade-goers welcomed Gladys and Carol Plude as grand marshals and the Plude family followed in their family toy bus. Mayor Tim McNeil and the Dayton City Council rode on the city of Dayton float and threw candy to the crowd. Other floats included Zuhrah Shrine Flyers, the Jolly Jammers, the Boy Scout Troop of Champlin and Dayton, the Vision bus service, and the Dayton Fire and Public Works departments.
Rep. Joyce Peppin and Anoka-Hennepin School District Board member Bill Harvey greeted the crowd and passed out candy throughout the parade as well.
Kids and adults alike collected candy, cookies, lanyards, pencils, toys and more during the parade and stuck around afterward for shopping and a beer-tasting event sponsored by Coyote Liquors. Kids enjoyed games, a fire truck slide, face painting and crafts after the parade. Following the parade, homemade pie and ice cream were served at the Senior Center and live music under the big tent was provided by Mostly Cash, The Bobby Harris Band, and Walt and the Boys.
Contact Megan Hopps at [email protected]