By: Kylen Mills
The Festival of Trees Holiday Parade marched through downtown Davenport Saturday morning, but bitter temps wreaked havoc on this year's festivities.
"In my 7 years this was the coldest," said Parade Manager Mel Drucker.
Drucker has preparations down to a science. But with temperatures hovering near 20 and the windchill in the single digits, this year was an uphill battle.
"The cold temperatures make it a little more difficult when it comes to filling the balloons with helium. It tends to make the balloons brittle and subject to breaking or shredding," said Drucker.
And that's exactly what happened. One balloon partially shredded, and another blew away.
Then once the balloons were ready to go...
"With the wind our balloon–handlers were really struggling to maintain control of those balloons so that slowed things up a little bit," said Drucker.
But the balloons were only the start of the problems.
6 out of the 7 bands dropped out because of high school regulations.
"The safety factor when the temperature drops so low their policy just said that we had to cancel the band" said Drucker.
Drucker says the number of volunteers fell with the temperatures, and so did the crowds.
"I think the wind and the cold kept a lot of people away. Usually the entire parade route every curb is filled," said Drucker.
But folks who did bundle up to brave the cold say..
"I didn't think it was quite the same without the band. It was missed," said Misty Larrison.
"You just have to know how to dress for the elements. To see her smile and get excited for all the balloons it's worth it," said Shelly Christensen.