Jon Austria/The Daily TimesGigantes De Carolina 21’s Jonathan Osorio performs a dance as he and his team ride along Main Street  during the Connie
Jon Austria/The Daily Times Gigantes De Carolina 21's Jonathan Osorio performs a dance as he and his team ride along Main Street during the Connie Mack Parade in downtown Farmington on Friday. processed by IntelliTune on 03082012 171501 with script _New - Normal- CTP (Jon Austria)
FARMINGTON — The Connie Mack Parade, for most Farmington residents, marks the beginning of the most exciting week of the summer as the city welcomes hundreds of baseball players and their supporters as it has for the past 48 years.

This year's Connie Mack parade drew more participants and larger crowds despite nearly 100-degree weather.

People gathered to watch the procession involving amateur baseball teams from across the country as well as local politicians and organizations.

"It was much bigger than normal," Duane Winn said. "It was well orchestrated. There was no real lull. I enjoyed it very much."

The parade was held along Main Street, and started at 11:30 a.m. from the Safeway parking lot at 730 West Main St.

"I think it went really well," said Kacie Nelson, co-chair of the Connie Mack parade. "There were over 40 participants including the teams, and everyone seems very excited. The boys — a lot of them have never been in a parade. This is their first one, and to have one in their honor is awe inspiring to them. I think the parade went very smoothly. Everything turned out great. It was a greater turnout with the crowd."

Fans of Farmington's Strike Zone Cardinals cheered and expressed their support as their float went by.

"I'm hopeful they can go to the finals and win it all," Drew Schulz said.

Families and supporters of other teams, however, also made up a significant portion of the crowd.

"The Puerto Ricans are the underdogs, so we've always gone for them," local resident Kalie Alley said. "We're probably the only ones in town that go all out decorating our cars for Puerto Rico. We are the loudest for them. People stare at us in the stands."

Her shouts of "Viva Puerto Rico," rang out over the crowd, even louder than the speakers, and the players of Puerto Rico's Carolina Gigantes 21 cheered and waved their arms.

Friday's parade, for many, is the favorite of the year.

"It was better than the Fourth of July Parade for sure," Kristiann Corley said at the Tropical Sno booth. "It was a lot more together. The Connie Mack Parade is probably the best."

Phil Uphold, also at the booth, added that the Connie Mack Parade is the only one they always come down to.

However not all parade attendees described the parade in such glowing terms.

"They're not throwing candy and it's not moving along," Isaac Bass said. "But we're having a good time and the kids are having fun. Maybe in the future they can tighten it up."

The parade was led by the New Mexico Centennial float, Kim Stradling, parade Grand Marshall and the Connie Mack World Series Chair Matt Broten and Vice Chairman Kim Carpenter.