What Happen to Parades  

fortunaswm 63M/53F
558 posts
7/9/2006 1:31 pm

Last Read:
9/25/2006 8:59 pm

What Happen to Parades

I was driving a friend home this morning and she was talking about the local 4th of July parade this year. Where were the horses? Ferndale is a small ranching community and everyone has horses. Where were they?

I have lived in small communities my whole adult life - and as a child - Redding wasn't that big - about 25,000 - though now it is over 150,000. And this post is focused on the small town parades - as I realize parades in larger populations continue to entertain.

I remember parades use to have LOTS of horses that were all dressed up with silver and well shined leather. The riders had obviously gone to great expense not only on the stead they rode - but on their own attire as well.
All the local high schools and junior high schools entered their marching bands with baton twirling majorettes and the Cheer Leaders with their routines.
The elected parade princess was usually from the high school as she was chauffeured in a shiny convertible - sitting on the back of the rear seat - waving and smiling in the dress mom and dad had bought whether they had the money or not as wore her crown and sash.
The Parade Marshall was always someone who had actually done something good for the community after years of service and was well respected.
And there was all the local clubs with a proud show to perform. Little ladies in their leotards performing dance routines they had been practicing for a month. Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops marched proudly with banners - all dressed in their uniforms - every stitch in place.
Fire Trucks were all shined and sparkled as the sun glistened the hand rubbed polish that had been applied to not just the paint - but, the brass implements as well.
And the floats? They were WELL decorated with lots and lots of flowers that had been made from different colored napkins - each individually twisted into shape and applied to chicken wire that surrounded the float. And no chicken wire showed - just floats covered with flowers.
The people riding these floats usually had skits they were performing - or the float had been adorned with spectacular and imaginative scenes that represented who they were and what they were about. The riders - all smiling and waving - obviously having a good time.
The local Sheriff's Posse always had a big shoot out between the Good Guys and the Bad Guys as they walked along.
There was always the clowns with their aluka horns - and you could tell they were having more fun than anyone as they joked with spectators - threw buckets of confetti that simulated water - though every once in awhile there was actually water in the bucket reserved for friends they knew along the way.
And there was much, much more. All of it planned and prepared with imagination - a sense of pride - and the desire to entertain or amuse.
And at the end came the clean up crew shoveling the gifts left by the horses - but they too were a part of festivities.
Spectators were truly entertained and clapping was a common occurrence from beginning to end.

And - if you were lucky enough to get to participate - all the better.

And in the smaller towns it was the same - just on a smaller scale.

But modern parades can't even begin to compare. There are few horses and NO local marching bands. The floats appear to have been quickly assembled the night before with limited resources and a lack of imagination. The Parade Marshall is a local politician trying to gather votes.
And EVERYONE is trying to sell the spectators something as almost each and every participant is advertising there place of business.
Now - the children are only waiting for the occasional clown who gives them candy - and I don't blame them as there is little else for them in the parade - only a string of commercials rolling by. And at the end - most people just turn and walk back to wherever it is they are going to go to next.
I could go on - but, I am sounding awful negative and don't wish to depress anyone - but, only perhaps inspire future parade participants or organizers.

I don’t even go anymore - too disheartening.

Are your parades still filled with smiles or have they too become rolling advertisements?
Do you still go - or stay home?
Are you involved with a local group that participates in parades? If so - I hope I planted a seed.
If you live in a large population - I understand - not much can you do.
But if you live in a smaller community - perhaps you can suggest and inspire.

HBowt2 60F

7/9/2006 7:17 pm

we have parades on patricks day....same thing...each small town does one...we are lucky in ours to have a championship brass band and a scout troop....

fortunaswm replies on 7/10/2006 6:20 am:
Sounds nice HB - a brass band - that's great. I had a gold band once - but the sounds it made were flat - so I traded it in for a broken guitar with no strings - now I'm trying to figure out how to make music again.

lovemetouchme5 52F
2102 posts
7/9/2006 9:12 pm

When I was in high school, I was on the drill team and marched in EVERY parade. After that, I would always watch the parades for the marching bands...and of course think about how well the drill team was doing..lol I live in a town of 220 people, so our parades usually consist of horses, fire trucks and a few floats. Sometimes we have the high steppers (a black drum corpe) come over from a neighboring town. You're right about the candy and the kids. They don't know the purpose of the parade except that it's time to get candy! Great post!

fortunaswm replies on 7/10/2006 7:28 am:
Well I guess the past is the past - but what is important are your memories. Sounds like you have some great ones - treasure them.
Some youth still have the availability to experience and build these memories.
But, in some areas - well I'm glad I was young when I was and got to see the way it was.

fortunaswm replies on 7/10/2006 8:07 am:
PS - love the new photo - a most excellant smile

angelofmercy5 60F
17881 posts
7/9/2006 11:02 pm

I grew up in a small town in Ohio....and marched in many of those parades. I was a majorette....and I played the drums in the marching band too! They were great parades...and the days before them were fill with helping to make the floats and all. Our parades here still have some marching bands....but we rarely go anymore. Kind of sad, isn't it?

fortunaswm replies on 7/10/2006 7:11 am:
and I'll bet you were that majorette that made my putter sputter angel.
I only don't go anymore because - as stated - they have just become rolling advertisements with little or no effort or imagination. If they still had floats that had some pride put into them - or marching bands and the like - I'ld go. Give it a go when the next one is held angel - then give us a post.
PS - you can twirl my baton anytime sweetie

curiousinlorain7 60F

7/11/2006 4:30 pm

your small hometown parades sound like the ones I grew up with..I'm not sure what they do back home anymore. The ones here are okay, excluding the 7-10 stupid politicians that feel the need to wave and sit in some fancy car... our parades are pretty good. marching bands, floats and well except for the year after the parade manager decided to put the horses next to the fire engines and sirens, we have had horses too. Miss this year though, I hope not to miss next year

fortunaswm replies on 7/11/2006 7:00 pm:
Here's hoping you make it back home to see one soon Lorain. It's always good to go back once in awhile and relive our youth. fort

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