Real flowers to be showcased in float design for parade

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

A field of flowers will be transformed this weekend when
the blooms are placed strategically on a float that will grace the Versailles Pumpkin Show Parade on Saturday.

Literally over 650 marigold plants with five different shades are growing in the field at the home of Frank and Eileen LaGreca on Farmer’s Retreat Road. The plants were started by Bill Nuhring in his greenhouse in Batesville.

Eileen knows how many plants there are because she planted every one of them. She began creating the spectacular float in her head earlier this year. The float is a continuation of the 150th celebration of the St. Paul Lutheran Church, Olean.

Saying she’s definitely not in this alone, Eileen noted that Barbara Eades and Connie Hunger have helped with the float project that will be complete with members dressed in period costume from the 1800’s. The ladies are all accomplished seamstresses and their artistic abilities will be displayed at the parade on Saturday.

The flowers on the float will be one-of-a-kind for the Pumpkin Show event. Saying the float is not modeled after many of those that boast flowers in the Rose Bowl Parade, Eileen said she just thought, “California has real flowers, why can’t we?”

The impressive float will carry two of the oldest members of the St. Paul Lutheran Church congregation, Lawrence Green and Alta Diem, both in their 90’s. Diem will be one of four generations of her family to participate in the parade entry with the youngest baptized member being her great grandson, Elijah Stenger.

Much detail depicting the church’s early beginning will be displayed as those who planned the entry have left no stone unturned to make this a celebration to remember.

Everyone has come together to make the job of chairman of the Sesquicentennial committee an easy one for Frank LaGreca. “This group of people has been amazing - everyone just took a project and ran with it,” he noted.

The float committee could be found this week at the home of David and Ruth Green near Versailles, putting finishing touches on the parade entry. The flowers will go on last and they are praying for sunshine!

Pictured working on the spectacular float for the Pumpkin Show Parade on Saturday are David Green, left, and Eileen LaGreca. When finished, the float will be transformed into an old fashioned church scene, covered with hundreds of marigolds in five shades. The parade entry is part of St. Paul Lutheran Church's 150th celebration at Olean.