I Love a Parade

Here’s a secret. Two actually. Well, only one secret. The other is a little-known fact. The secret. I’m one of those people doesn’t know right from left unless I salute. The little-known fact. I was a drum majorette in my elementary school band. If that doesn’t scare you, let’s go for a drive.

santa_claus_arrives.
Photo Santa Claus by Tweberl

It stands to reason that with my drum majorette past, I love a parade, and I do. Except there’s not many parades these days. That’s why I love the holidays. For a parade-a-holic like me the holidays kick off with the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day. Since I lived in greater New York as a child that’s a double dip. I remember sitting on my father’s shoulders in the freezing cold watching balloons glide past. In those days it Popeye and Olive Oyl flew overhead, and now it’s cartoons I don’t recognize, but the big guy still arrives at the end. You know who I mean.

Things got slack parade-wise until New Year’s Eve brought the Orange Bowl Parade. Unless you lived in Miami. Then you had the Junior Orange Bowl parade too. If you worked in an office and anyone had kids, you ended up joining them at the Junior Orange Bowl Parade. Who could resist? It’s still held in Coral Gables and the last time I attended it was a classic parade with marching bands, twirlers, and yes, floats, and a Junior Orange Bowl Queen.

New Year’s Eve rang in with the Orange Bowl. Little compares with the spectacle of a nighttime parade. Animated lights covered the floats. The themes were creative and of course, there was the perk of a winter parade in steamy South Florida. I was lucky enough to work in One Biscayne Tower during much of the early 1980s. That meant not only did the Orange Bowl march under my office windows, the Big Orange dropped down the side of my building. Talk about a million-dollar view! Who needed Times Square! In true Latin style the party and the dancing went on until the wee hours.

Morning came soon enough and just in time to catch the Bluebonnet Bowl Parade. Televised from Houston. The Parade was small and sweet. Most of the floats that I remember featured Texas themes. Many were decorated with flowers. It sported lots of marching bands and it was one of my favorite parades. I remember it being short, but that could have been a programming issue. Any Houstonians out there to set me straight? I’d love more information.

The grandmama of all parades followed and besides the Macy’s Day Parade, the only one left standing today. The Rose Bowl Parade. Don’t tell my husband, but the only reason I keep signing up for cable service is to be certain to have the Rose Bowl Parade. He wouldn’t object. His mother actually travelled from Arizona to Pasadena to see the parade and splurged on bleacher seats to do it right.

rose bowl
Photo New Orleans CC by erinbrace

The Rose Bowl Parade is the highlight of my New Year’s Day. The music, the beauty. I cannot imagine the patience it takes to put the floats together, the artistry, or the creativity. When I hear that each of the roses are in individual vases, I am awed at the thought of the individuals with that depth of dedication. When the last float or band rounds the corner and the presenters sign off, I’m left with the energy that comes from watching someone do what they love. The satisfaction that comes when you reach the end of a great book or movie.

I love a parade. How about you?

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Author: kaitcarson

I write mysteries set in South Florida. The Hayden Kent series is set in the Florida Keys. Hayden is a SCUBA diving paralegal who keeps finding bodies. Underwater, no one can hear you scream! Catherine Swope is a Miami Realtor with a penchant for finding bodies in the darndest places. I live in an airpark in Fort Denaud, FL with my husband, five cats, and a flock of conures. And oh yes, a Piper Cherokee 6 in the hangar!

22 thoughts on “I Love a Parade”

  1. I love watching a big parade. However, none of the other folks in my household do. On Thanksgiving we wind up watching football all day. New Year’s Day is a Catholic holy day of obligation (Mary, Queen of Heaven), so the parade is over once I get back from Mass and then it’s, you got it, football all day again. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not a huge parade fan, but here in my little town we do two parades every year, one to kick off the holidays and one during our annual summer festival. They’re so incredibly lame and endearing! Mainstreet is only a couple of blocks long and we have a circular street that loops back into it, so the parade staging is about three times the size of the parade! The parade itself should take about 10 minutes, based on its size, but ends up being muuuch longer because after 30-some years, they still haven’t figured it out. There will be 10-min gaps between entries! So hilarious. We have a community “marching” band of adults that practices about 5 times a year complete with drum major who keeps time with a broom in the air. Instead of following the route, they usually step around some horses and go through the route again. Always tons of horses that scare the bejjebers outta me because once, when my kids were little and sitting on the curb, a gigantic horse fell down RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM! Ay caramba. I suspect if you were subjected to my parades you might not love them quite as much!

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    1. Becky! Seriously! That might be enough to put me off. A friend of a friend lives in a tiny town in Colorado. I mean tiny. The march down the street and then backward up the street. I cannot remember the name of the town, but your description of your parade (until the horse part) reminded me of Gwen’s parade. My hometown was a mile long. No horses though.

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  3. Oh, me too! In college, I used to help out, building the floats for homecoming. And when my kids reached high school, they all marched with their bands in our local parades–one at Christmas, and one with “The World’s Shortest Parade” (or something like that)–half a block on St. Patrick’s Day. Such fun!!

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  4. I love it! I was a twirler for years, including being a part of the high school marching band, and I marched in parades from when I was seven until I was 16. In fact, I didn’t watch my first parade in-person until college because I’d only ever been IN the parades. We had the Maine State Parade, which was televised, every year. We also had a nighttime holiday parade which meant we got to twirl fire (which I LOVED). Nothing says a loving parent more than a mom who carries coffee cans full of kerosine around for you. (She also wasn’t afraid to stick a baton through the spokes of the naughty bike riders cutting through our routines.) Sadly, I haven’t been to a parade in ages.

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  5. For years, I lived around the corner from the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. I always went to see the balloons be blown up the night before but did I ever go to the parade? Not once. Too early for a NYer like me. I also lived near the Hollywood Xmas parade for several years. Also never went. BUT my favorite parades? MARDI GRAS! Where you can walk away with beads, doubloons, and all matter of stuff. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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    1. Mais oui! C’est vrai – Mardi Gras is THE party and parade – Right to the very end when the police march their horses withers to withers down the street. Don’t ask me how I know, perhaps a friend told me. I thought of you when I found the Rose Bowl parade float.

      I never thought about how they blew the balloons up before the parade. That must be a hoot to see. And I’m betting it’s loud!

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  6. I grew up in Oakville, Ontario, not too far from Toronto and we always went to the Santa Claus Parade. After we moved here, my mom watched the parade on the Canadian channel and missed home and her mom so badly, she had a good cry while watching it. We have a pretty big parade here in Detroit for Thanksgiving. I went to see it once … pretty crowded and they have a 5K before called “The Turkey Trot” and for the younger set the event is called “The Mashed Potato Mile” … may we never forget the joy of a good parade.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love a parade as well. Growing up, my world was filled with hometown July 4th parades complete with a bike decorating contest, and hat tradition continues with our local Anaheim July 4th parade as well. Of course I moved to Southern California, so I have been to the Rose Parade, and it is SO much better in person that one could even imagine. I would love to see Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade someday, and I might get that chance now that #1 daughter lives in NYC and went to the parade last year! (I’m jealous, but she said it was really COLD)

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  8. I like to GO to as parade, but, unless I can find someone to go with, don’t usually do it. On TV, meh. I’m surprised your elementary school had majorettes! We did have marching bands until high school, nor did my kids. Can you still throw a twirling baton and catch it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I will NEVER admit this publicly but I was a baton-twirling band member as well, I still have my baton, but daughter #1 absconded with my boots and used my uniform as a Halloween costume once. I still find that “twirling” (both baton and a longish walking stick) keeps fingers limber and flexible. (none of the high-throwing or fire-twirling anymore, however.)

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  9. Maybe if I’d been to the gigantic parades I’d be a fan, but I’m not. My little neighborhood (99 homes) does an annual parade where kids dress up their bicycles, the one or two owners with antique cars dust them off and honk their horns, and a few adults walk and throw candy. Usually there are far more people in the parade than lining the streets to wave and cheer them on. But I try and do my bit by being extra loud and wave-y, and collecting the candy.

    Liked by 1 person

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