A Blossomtime Festival Tradition Continues

Lt. Pat White (IMPD Motorcycle Drill Team 1992-current), Anna Abdelnour (Blossomtime Festival Inc President), and Bret McAtee (retired Drill Team Commander 1983-2018)

A Blossomtime Festival Tradition Continues

For many in Southwest Michigan, the Blossomtime Festival’s Grand Floral Parade has marked the unofficial kick-off to Summer.  Likewise, the parade is officially kicked-off by the famed Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team.

For two of the drill team members, the annual visit from Indy up to Southwest Michigan is worth continuing, despite the cancellation of the Grand Floral Parade again this year.

Brett McAtee, a retired Drill Team Commander, and Lt. Pat White made the trip up this weekend to visit friends they’ve made over the past years.

“We love the people and the area,” McAtee explained. “Each year the team looks forward to coming to St. Joseph and Benton Harbor…it’s been a highlight for us.”

Blossomtime Festival President, Anna Abdelnour, was thrilled to get a visit from Brett and Pat this weekend.

“It’s such a wonderful blessing that they took the time to come and visit,” Abdelnour explained. 

“While we feel a little down because of the parade’s cancelation, their visit has lifted all our spirits.”

The Grand Floral Parade has been coined the “Crown Jewel of the Blossomtime Festival” and this year would have marked the 115th year.  The Parade begins in St. Joseph and continues its way through the city, across the Bicentennial Bridge and into Benton Harbor.  St. Joseph and Benton Harbor have been the host cities since the Parade’s inception in 1923.

The Grand Floral Parade typically features over 120 units including local bands, floats, clowns, costumed characters, antique cars and tractors, unicycle teams, equestrian units, and of course, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team.

“Believe it or not, the staff and volunteers have already begun the planning for the 2022 Grand Floral Parade,” Abdelnour stated.  “It’s not too early to mark your calendars for May 14 of next year.”

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