Rodney Napier Discusses Floats, Bands, and Legends Which Are Part of the Grand Parade

The Canton Repository Grand Parade delivered a colorful collection of floats along with marching bands and celebrated football legends.

Weather alternated from sunny to overcast and back again, but the climate was unable to dim the spirit of The Canton Repository Grand Parade on Saturday morning.

For more than two hours, float after float, marching band after marching band and NFL legend after NFL legend cruised along to cheers and waves and smiles on a route stretching from downtown Canton to the 25th Street NW area.

Kids and adults wrapped themselves in blankets. Other children positioned themselves on the shoulders of parents for a better view. And Hall of Fame inductees of both yesterday and today drew the most attention, including Kurt Warner, the NFL Cinderella story, who humbly and politely thanked fans for showering him with adulation. A permanent grin was plastered on the mug of Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. The man known for his flashy personality rode in a retro convertible, attracting a tide of applause in the wake of his team’s famous cheerleaders.

As the parade ended shortly before 11 a.m., Rodney Napier, a longtime Stark County businessman who now lives in Miami Beach, was helping an elderly woman down from a coach bus and into a Yukon Denali SUV just outside the Ritzy Car Wash at 1920 Cleveland Ave. NW. He said he’s seen the parade every year since 1979 when he graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas. He owned the property from 1992 to 2001 but sold it with a deed restriction that guaranteed that he and his family would have access to the space as a viewing spot during each annual Grand Parade. People there were disassembling the tables and fence set up for their viewing party.

“It’s a proud moment for Canton, Ohio every year,” Napier said, also expressing admiration for the emerging Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village and the leadership of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “We are blessed to have the presence of (Pro Football Hall of Fame President) David Baker.”

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