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Back by popular demand: Gibson City’s clever and uplifting Reverse Parade.

On Friday night, the 60 or so seniors at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School will spread out on a downtown block of the main drag — dressed in caps and gowns — and hear it from a passing caravan of well-wishers who are urged to “beep, honk, cheer and wave.”

Introduced by a group of parents last year as a way to salute the ceremony-less Class of 2020, the parade went on for 90 minutes and drew visitors from every corner of Ford County. “We didn’t think the cars were ever going to stop coming,” said organizer Sandy Hathaway, who has daughters in both the Class of ‘20 (Hannah) and ‘21 (Haven). “They liked it so much they decided to do it again. Who knows, we might do it next year, too.”

Blaring fire trucks and the intercom system along Sangamon Avenue — used to introduce each graduate and play commencement music — only add to the small-town charm.

“The community really came together last year, just like they always have,” Hathaway said. “This community always shows up. It was so neat.”

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