Downtown Edmonton was swarming with a crowd of approximately 225,000 people who flocked to see the Capital Ex Parade Thursday.

Over 120 organizations marched and floated through the city’s core, including dignitaries, charities and the military.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done it, and it’s been a blast,” said Erika Madsen, marching for the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Extension. “It’s good to showcase to so many different age groups what the faculty of extension is about.”

There was interactivity with children, as mascots and other characters came to high-five or take pictures with children who were watching.

“We come from a small town west of Edmonton, and we thought it would be something fun to bring the kids to,” Westlock resident Stacey Michalczuk said.

Float entries were judged in 13 categories and $17,900 in prize money was awarded. The parade had a military-inspired theme, and was led by Warrant Officer Willy MacDonald.

Staff from STARS Air Ambulance headed out to the parade for the sixth time.

“It’s phenomenal to be a part of something that is so gracious and supportive of Alberta,” said Jon Gogan, a STARS pilot. “Without the people in Alberta, we wouldn’t be able to be in the skies helping out those patients.”

There were even bloody, rotting zombies shuffling slowly through the parade, promoting the Halloween festival “Dedmonton.”

“We did not like the morbid people, it was a little bit too, I think, violent,” said Michelle Durocher with a smile.

“Otherwise it was a good parade,” she added, while eating hot dogs after the parade with her five-year-old daughter Erica.