As dark clouds rolled by Tuesday evening, preparations for Wednesday’s Crape Myrtle Festival Parade were well under way.

Around town, groups gathered to work on their parade entries, some putting the final touches on them, others starting from scratch.

And the Ellis County Master Gardeners started somewhere in between.

The master gardeners got together at the home of John and Arlene Hamilton late Tuesday afternoon, decking out their trailer with potted flowers, plants, American flags and some pink ribbon and bunting to match this year’s theme of “Pink Petals and Patriotism.”

Their float is covered with Dallas red crape myrtles, pink knockout roses, nearly wild roses and pink dragonwing begonias, master gardener Cheryl Marusak said.

Marusak, who is in charge of this year’s float, said TexScapes Greenery lent all of the plants to the organization.

However, while she picked out the plants for the float, it was her fellow master gardeners who really helped make the float what it is, she said.

“I kind of had an idea, but they did most of the work,” Marusak said. “I just got here with the plants, and then the others took over.”

Using the experience gained from putting floats together for several years, the master gardeners were able to complete their task in under two hours.

“It’s just master gardeners working together,” Marusak said.

However, her husband, Wayne, gave her credit for her efforts, saying Cheryl “is good at what she does.”

With Marusak’s 10-year-old granddaughter, Emily Killian, playing around with her grandfather, members of the service organization noted that this would be their return to the annual parade and would also be their return to the float design contest as well.

Before last year’s absence, the master gardeners’ float had received “a number of first place ribbons,” James Kocian noted, with Arlene Hamilton explaining they missed it because of rain.

While rainstorms did pass through the area again last night and have continually threatened the area the past few weeks, Waxahachie Fire Chief David Hudgins noted Monday, “We’re going to have a parade. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining and I’m the only one in it, we’re going to have a parade.”

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