Haines, My Way: Senses heighten at Maple Leaf


It’s the pinnacle of community spirit in the Maple Leaf City – a time when every aspect of this town is celebrated.

From darling babies waving to adoring fans to military veterans saluting Old Glory, chanting Carthage Tiger student-athletes to an artist capturing the city’s fall foliage … find your piece of the Maple Leaf Festival.

There is literally something for everyone, and my slice of Heaven is found alongside the beloved Maple Leaf Parade route – slated Saturday, Oct. 20.


The parade experience isn’t just seeing the community, it’s enjoying generations of this community. 

It’s shoulder-to-shoulder from the Square to every front yard to the old junior high (currently vacant but expected to be the new junior high for seventh and eighth grade). 

Smiles and laughter come from the street, porches and open garages. There’s little ones riding the shoulders of their loved ones so that they can have the best view, and parents taking pictures of their kids packed in tight wrapped blankets on the curb. 

There’s the visual, now the scent – oh the smells of apple cider, breads, hot chocolate and other yummies families dish out this time of year!

It’s tradition for the Carthage boys in blue to give everyone a jolt with that eardrum-piercing siren. The kids clasp their ears when the fire trucks sound their horns, too. But I can’t explain the joy, the anticipation and the building adrenaline rush of hearing those Marching Tiger drums from a distance. Carthage has the unique privilege of enjoying all the bands from this region, and the Marching Band Competition is the reason this community has the parade at all.

So grab your choice of morning savories, snuggle up in your favorite sweatshirt or hoodie, keep your camera handy and get ready … Your senses are about to be heightened by Carthage’s Maple Leaf.

Rebecca Haines is a contributor to The Carthage Press.