“This is an exciting time of year, especially for students as school winds down."

Now 104 years strong, All Schools Day continues to celebrate the spirit of achievement with students across McPherson County.

“This is an exciting time of year, especially for students as school winds down. My eldest is graduating high school this year and All Schools Day kind of encapsulates that whole feeling of everyone coming together to celebrate education, hometown and family before going in a hundred directions when school lets out and graduation is over,” said Anne Hassler Heidel, All Schools Day chairperson. “Anyone who has ever marched in the parade or been in Madathon has this annual event that ties them back to McPherson County and I think that's pretty special.”

Button Hunt

The 2017 McPherson County All Schools Day Button Hunt produced two winners by offering a virtual button hunt alongside the search for the medallion.

The medallion was found Wednesday morning by Sharla Rempe of McPherson, and the virtual button location was first identified Tuesday by Tony Unruh.

This year’s medallion was hidden behind a gutter drain pipe at the southeast corner of the Canton Township Library in Canton. The Canton Township Carnegie Library opened its doors in 1921, the last library in the United States funded by the Carnegie Foundation.

Carnival

The All Schools Day carnival went on with the show, rain or shine.

“The carnival never had to close because of the weather this week,” said Mike Rausch, chairperson of the carnival and concessions. “We did get some rain, but since the weather held on Friday, we’ll do well and have a really good crowd.”

The family-run Toby’s Amusements has brought the carnival to Wickersham Park for more than 55 years. The organization has benefited the All Schools Day committee over the years, as a percentage of the rides’ ticket sales come back to cover other events this week.

May Fete

Rain couldn’t halt the talent on Wednesday and Thursday at May Fete. The celebration began at the McPherson High School Roundhouse Wednesday, where the May Queens and their royal courts were recognized.

McPherson jazz bands welcomed patrons with music before the program started at 7 p.m. with the royalty procession. The winding of the maypoles followed.

A total of 30 groups, with students ranging from kindergarten to high school, performed in either Wednesday’s or Thursday’s program.

All Schools Day Parade

All that hard work paid off for hundreds of groups across the county as their hand-built floats took to the streets Friday morning.

The first All Schools Day parade held in 1914 ran from Central Park to the McPherson Opera House and was attended by 3,000 spectators. Since then, crowds have grown, and more than 35,000 spectators attend from communities far outside of McPherson County.

The magnitude of spectators speaks volumes about the importance of the parade to McPherson County.

“It’s pretty ingrained into the citizenry,” Rausch said. “Newcomers to some of McPherson’s larger corporations and banks have a hard time grasping how big All Schools Day really is. The first thing they tell those new managers is that they aren’t working on the second Friday in May and they almost can’t believe it. You have to experience one before you understand it.”

Madathon

All Schools Day’s messiest event celebrates spirit, rather than winning.

This year, Madathon Chairperson David Harger added a game using tennis balls, panty hose and bowling pins, which he tried out of participants in the McPherson Chamber of Commerce Challenge this year.

“The spirit of ASD is to recognize things beyond athletics. We’re recognizing academics and the promotion and the hard work the students have done when they leave fifth grade for the middle school and eighth grade for the high school. I think fun and sportsmanship fits with that a lot better than a competition does. I want all the students to be able to come out and put a cream pie in the face of their dad.”