Night In Ole Converse kicks off Friday night
A new parade route awaits participants and attendees on Saturday as the annual Night In Ole Converse event returns to Converse City Park.
Festivities open Friday night and run through Sunday with a full carnival, live music acts, a sanctioned barbecue cook-off, car show, food vendors and arts and crafts vendors.
Saturday’s 45th annual Night In Ole Converse parade will assume a different route this year because of heavy construction on South Seguin Street.
Rita Creswell, Converse Lions Club parade organizer, said Saturday’s parade participants will gather in City Park at the Mesquite Street entrance to Converse football and baseball fields, two-tenths of a mile down Willow Street from the main park entrance.
The procession will move down Mesquite Street to Gibbs Sprawl Road, where it will turn right for one block before turning right onto Station Street, by Converse Fire Station No. 1. The parade will continue south on Station to School Street, where it makes another right turn onto School and onto Willow, past the main park entrance. The parade will turn into the Mesquite Street park entry, where it began.
“We changed the route because there’s no room for people to sit, park and stand along Seguin,” she said. “For the safety of all the people that are watching, we’re moving it one street over.”
Creswell said the Lions Club had 57 entries one week before the parade, with inquiries made by nearly two dozen more businesses and organizations. There is no charge to enter the parade.
“I expect quite a few at the front gate that day,” Creswell said. “A lot of entrants come out that day. We can still register entrants all the way up to the start of the parade. We’ll tag them and put them in the back of the parade.”
Converse Mayor Al Suarez is the grand marshal. The American Legion Color Guard will lead the parade, which includes appearances by numerous Converse area groups and firms, as well as out-of-town entries from the Live Oak Fire Department and the Roosevelt High School cheer squad.
NIOC opens at City Park, 307 School St., at 5 p.m. and remains open until midnight. Admission is $5 for entrants 12 years old and older; 11 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.
The opening night features Los Tovares on stage under the pavilion from 7-9 p.m., followed by Los Desperadoz from 9:30 p.m.-midnight.
Merriam’s Midway Shows will have its carnival spread across one baseball field, while arts and crafts vendors will have tables and booths set up along the field nearest the pavilion.
The NIOC festival grounds open at noon Saturday following the completion of the parade, and will remain open until midnight. Judging for the International Barbecue Cookers Association-sanctioned cook-off will take place on Saturday. Music comes from Hoggshedd from 7:30 p.m.-midnight on the pool stage, and the J. Abram band from 9 p.m.-midnight on the pavilion stage.
Creswell said all proceeds gathered by the Lions Club at NIOC are used for programs it sponsors, including Lions camps, eye exams and glasses for economically disadvantaged children and adults, Boys State for teens sponsorship, and the Lions Low Vision Center of Texas.
NIOC parade or participation questions can be addressed to Creswell at 210-602-0291, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.