By SCOTT PESZNECKER
Clowns, children donning frog costumes, former Calaveras queens and a myriad of other characters marched in the annual Youth Day Parade Thursday.
Hundreds of county fans lined the sidewalks of downtown Angels Camp to watch the half-hour procession. Children tossed candy from floats, some waved American flags, and others carried banners, flags and signs to show their membership in various organizations.
"It was good for a small-town parade, darn good," said county resident Jon Van Wey, who dressed as Huck Finn for the occasion.
Van Wey's outfit was fitting, because the parade emphatically opened festivities of the weekend-long Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, made famous by historic author Mark Twain.
But to many of the parade's younger participants such as Caitlin Geto, 4, and her 2-year-old brother, Chad the parade was just something fun to do. The two rode in a wagon together, Chad wearing a little green frog suit.
"Caitlin loves the parade," said their mother, Bobbi Geto, of Arnold. "Chad doesn't really know, but he's been running around in his frog costume the last two days yelling 'ribbit, ribbit!' "
Watching from the side, Jeremy Ricketts of Valley Springs, 11, said he likes "how people come dressed in imitation of different things," and "how they throw candy most of the time."
Firman Brown, 65, enjoyed his first Youth Day Parade with a few friends. New to the area, Brown moved here from Pebble Beach four months ago.
"This is fantastic, this is like God's country up here," he said. "I like the small town because everybody is friendly and they have spirit.
Motioning to himself and his friends, Brown said "we're getting awfully childish, so maybe we can be in it next year."
After the parade, participants gathered at Utica Park to play, hang out and eat Popsicles.