(Shenandoah) -- Spectacular sunny weather shined down on Shenandoah's heroes Saturday afternoon.
Ordinarily, a siren sound means bad news. But on Saturday, sirens from Shenandoah police cars and fire trucks trumpeted the coming of the "Hometown Heroes"--the theme of the 2018 Shenfest Parade. Local law enforcement, firefighters, EMT and veterans were among those honored as grand marshals in this year's parade. Also saluted were three Shenandoah sports legends--Hugh Drake, the 1955 Shenandoah High School grad who played on the University of Iowa's 1958 Rose Bowl team, Van Brownson, a 1968 SHS grad who played on Nebraska's national championship football teams in 1970 and '71, and Todd Millikan, a 1986 Shenandoah High grad who played with the Huskers in the late 1980's.
For Brownson, being a parade grand marshal is a great tribute.
"I know how important this parade and this festival is to the city of Shenandoah," said Brownson. "To be a part of it, and to be named grand marshal is beyond my wildest dreams."
Millkan says people he grew up around were HIS hometown heroes.
"Grow up here, I learned my values from the people who were around here," said Millikan.
The three athletic heroes joined community hero Bill Hillman, area businessman and tireless Shenandoah promoter. In addition to his involvement with the Wabash Trace, Hillman is also known as the man who brought the Everly Brothers back to Shenandoah for a homecoming concert in 1986. The owner of the Depot Deli restaurant says bringing Phil and Don Everly back was a major undertaking.
"I was too young to know it would be hard to do," said Hillman. "I actually called Phil Everly at home, and arranged to figure how to do it. He gave me some pointers, and that sort of thing. It was a huge task. There were hundreds of people who worked on that. I just get to be the face of it, I guess."
Callie Toms is already a heroine to a lot of young Shenandoah kids. Crowned Miss Shenandoah for 2018 last weekend, Toms rode in the parade with Little Miss Shenandoah, Lucy Gandy. Toms calls being Miss Shenandoah "an incredible opportunity" to represent her community in a positive manner.
"When you're younger, you definitely look up to older kids," said Toms. "Even if they're not Miss Shenandoah, you look up to them as royalty. You want to follow in their actions. If you can present a positive atmosphere, and a positive role model, then that what kids want to be. They want to embody positivity. And, if you can provide that, then that's really rewarding, I think."
Scores of floats, bands, and even a few politicians also appeared in the parade. Shenandoah High School's Marching Mustangs entertained during the parade: