Manitowoc’s First Ever Francis Fest/Oktoberfest Parade

Paul Keggington

October 05, 2008

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Although parades as we know them today did not exist in medieval times, jesters were popular in brightly colored clothes and wild hats. Francis himself was a bit of a buffoon.

img_4686_1758.jpgHe was an object of admiration to all, and he endeavored to surpass others in his flamboyant display of vain accomplishments: wit, curiosity, practical jokes and foolish talk, songs, and soft and flowing garments…he used to strut about impressively and in high spirits, making his way through the streets of Babylon.” (The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano)

Francis also enjoyed road-side ministry after publicly making his commitment to Gospel living. 

img_4698_1770.jpgGiven these possible insights and more, St. Francis of Assisi Parish planners decided a parade in honor of St. Francis would be a perfect finish to a great celebration. The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and others entered into the spirit of October 4, 2008 by becoming active participants in the merry-making. Father Bob Konopa, OFM, Channel of Peace Itinerant Ministry, was the ‘Francis’ tractor driver for the FSCC float.

Beginning at the parish offices, this parade proceeded the wrong way up a one way street, unlike all other parades in Manitowoc, WI. This, too, made this first Francis Fest/Oktoberfest Parade unforgetable and fitting for a medieval jester’s honor.

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