Parade Swag

The first time I experienced parade swag was at the Great American Cheese Festive in Little Chute, Wisconsin. Child was about seven.  There was a Great American Cheese Parade at the kick-off to the festival and as Child and I settled in, the family next to us said “don’t you have a bag?”  and  gave Child an extra plastic bag that they had brought along.  I wasn’t quite sure why but it didn’t take long to figure it out.  Most of the participants in the parade were tossing candy to the kids along the route; Child made a candy killing.

The practice of handing out candy has morphed into handing out parade swag of all types. At the Richfield Fourth of July Parade this year, there were all kinds of fun stuff.   There were lots of folks doing candy: Dum Dum suckers, Jolly Ranchers are staples, but a couple of groups upped the ante with Butterfinger minis and Skittles.  YA even scored some Sweet Tarts.

The first swag of the day was actually a small flag that we could wave throughout the parade. Then there were coupons for the Renaissance Festival, dog treats from Chuck and Don’s and a smoothie place.  There were icee pops from Cub, icy cold water from a youth group, a ballpoint pen from one church and a nicer pen from a high school band.  There were two different groups giving out can cozies and we also ended up with a little red rubber football and a mini-frisbee.  A Lions Club volunteer even handed YA and I each a paper bag with White Castle Sliders.  We’re’ not sure why she singled us out, but since we’re vegetarians, we offered them to the family sitting next to us.

The best swag of the day were the sunglasses from Davannis. When we were parking the car before the parade, it was pretty cloudy so both of us left our sunglasses in the car.  This was an unfortunate choice since right about the time the parade got started, the sun came out.  The Davannis sunglasses  were just the right swag for both of us.  And of course we learned our lesson after the Great American Cheese Festival Parade – we had a bag!

Have you ever gotten any good swag?





40 thoughts on “Parade Swag”

  1. Our town celebrates Roughrider Days over the 4th. The swag at the parade is mainly pretty lame candy. We had a rather subdued 4th as we didn’t want to take our son’s Westie to the fireworks, and we had received news earlier in the afternoon that Husband’s 92 year old father died in Denver. He had Alzheimer’s and was blind and deaf and had developed pneumonia, so it was a blessed release. I think the funeral will be in a couple of weeks.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you. He has been very ill for the past month and the uncertainty and inevitability has been wearing for Husband.


  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I don’t have much for this question—during my parade years I usually was IN the parade—in the band, on the 4H float. Then later as an adult I have been in the concert band which would play at the end of the parade. Unfortuanately, those participants are never gifted with swag. Now parades just do not attract me. I think it is too many years of BEING part of the parade just quashed my interest in watching them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, how I disliked marching band. I was a drummer when we marched, since you can’t match with a bass clarinet.


      1. Renee: do drummers suffer hearing loss later in life? My hearing is lousy now because we didn’t know in the Fifties that we needed hearing protection when shooting clay targets.


        1. Good question. I think they are more likely to have repetitive stress injuries in their hands. I don’t know about hearing loss. The drum certainly isn’t as close to the ear as a shot gun would be.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I’m wondering how you arrived at the cause/effect relationship between shooting clay targets and your hearing loss, Steve? I have a severe hearing loss issue, as well, but have never shot clay targets.

          In one ear my loss is directly related to an upper respiratory infection. In the other, which occurred several years later, there’s no discernible cause, but is probably age related.


        3. PJ: I should have put cause and effect together when I was a kid, for the older trap and skeet shooters were all more deaf than not. I didn’t get the point. Then the audiologist wife of a friend explained what had happened. Now it is common knowledge among target shooters. Of course, many things can lead to hearing loss. The common one today is loud music via ear buds.


        4. A lot of farmers are more deaf in their left ears because they turn their head to the right watching machinery behind.
          Thus the engine noise affects the left ear.
          I’m lucky I pretty much always wore earmuffs (the hearing protection ones) on the open tractors and then have cabs and better mirrors that don’t require turning so much.
          Some of the first cabs were more noisy than without. I still had to wear hearing protection on them.
          I’m cautious of my hearing : I get it checked regularly. I don’t want to be the sound guy that can’t hear the feedback ringing.

          Liked by 2 people

        5. I know that using appropriate protection against loud or prolonged noise is important to protect against hearing loss. It certainly makes a lot of sense to do so. But the fact is that a lot of older folks suffer from age related hearing loss, often in combination with hearing loss attributable to exposure to noise, and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the two. I was not suggesting that it wouldn’t have been prudent to wear hearing protection when you were clay shooting, Steve, just wondering whether the connection between your hearing loss and the shooting has actually been medically established.

          When I was a teenager, my father was adamantly opposed to me wearing high heels and pointy shoes. I’d ruin my feet and get bunions he warned. I, of course, didn’t heed his warning, I had looks to worry about, although I never did wear heels more than a couple of inches high. I’m pretty sure dad never wore high heels, but despite this he ended up with a painful bunion on his right foot, and I now have that same malady. Do I attribute my bunion to being stupid and not heeding dad’s advice, or is it hereditary? Since I wore shoes with pointy toes and a two inch heel on both feet, why do I have a bunion only on the right?

          Liked by 2 people

        6. OT – For the singers in our midst:

          Singalong with Dan Chouinard!
          July 8th 2019
          7:00-8:30 pm
          Danish American Center Atrium

          Dan Chouinard’s singalongs usually fall on the first Monday of the month, but for July, it’ll be held on the second Monday, July 8th. Warm up your voice and join us for a fun evening of singing old, new, classic and pop songs. Dan also takes requests.

          Free and open to all with free-will donation.


    2. Parades are another thing that I enjoy in my adult life I think partly because I didn’t have them in my young life. My parents were not people who liked crowds and parades just were never on the horizon for my family. And I’ve only participated in a couple of parades. When teenager was in gymnastics, she always took part in the Richfield parade and as a board member I was often one of the adults who was walking along on the edges chaperoning.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our grandson got to see “The Running of the Goats ” yesterday at a place called Beacon Hill in Victoria, BC. It was quite a goat parade, but there was no swag.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you. He has been very ill for the past month and the uncertainty and inevitability has been wearing for Husband.


  5. I’m rather ambivalent about parades. Most of the ones I’ve personally walked in or observed have been too long, and without sufficient interest to keep it interesting for the viewers. They just drag on and on. I avoid parade swag at all costs.

    I enjoy colorful parades that include some decent marching bands, especially if they include a group of skilled majorettes. I loved the Minneapolis Hollidazzle parade which was extremely colorful, with beautiful floats, lots of glittery costumes, great bands, and lots of lights. In order to enjoy the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in St. Paul I think you’d have to have started drinking early in the day.

    Small town parades often have a different feel to them. I’ve seen a small town parade that included a push lawn mower drill team, hilarious and very entertaining. But just a bunch of cars with various office holders waving and tossing candy is not my idea of a great time. I know I sound like an old grump, but a good parade is hard to find, in my experience.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. PJ: you’d like the Cornucopia Days parade. I never saw one with more than two dozen participants, mostly kids (with a few pet rabbits, dogs and ferrets thrown in). The parade route was about three blocks. The “crowd” watching this would march along with the paraders because otherwise the parade would only last about two minutes.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. I marched in the high school band. We wore heavy uniforms, a stiff cap, spats, and black shoes. It was hot and uncomfortable. Hats are usually too big for me and slide down, covering my eyes. I had to focus on marching in step, holding my flute straight (parallel with the ground and not sagging), keeping my music clip straight on my flute and playing the right notes in the right song. Marching bands are impressive. That stuff is hard work! I wasn’t at all fond of it.

    I guess I got some swag when I was on the Rock Bend committee. I got the annual T-shirt with “Bend Head” on it and on our 20th anniversary I got a large mug with Rock Bend 20 on it. It was kind of earned swag, I guess, but swag all the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. OT – This may be of interest to some Twin Cities baboons:
    Little Mekong Night Market
    Come out to join us as we celebrate our 6th Annual Night Market in the Little Mekong Cultural and Business District! Packed with food and fun and artisan vendors, bring the whole family out to enjoy the cool summer breeze!

    July 6th & 7th, 2019
    Saturday 5PM – 12AM
    Sunday 3PM – 10PM

    Check out our website for more information!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The only “swag” I ever gathered was the stuff sent to me by manufacturers of outdoor equipment. The rich stream of free stuff began when I joined the professional outdoor writer organization. Most of it was for fishing, especially line, clothing and lures. Manufacturers hoped sending free stuff to writers would buy favor and (best of all) favorable mentions in articles. One of the reasons I very publicly resigned from that organization was my embarrassment about the swag. At bottom, what was being bought was integrity, and the integrity of outdoor writers had a humiliatingly low market price.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Hi-I remember going to some parades as a kid but I guess I never got enough candy. And then yeah, marching band in high school and then because we had a truck and a flatbed wagon, drove in a few parades for theaters. Nowadays I just avoid the crowds.

    Swag is sometimes over-rated as Steve says.
    The Theater convention I attend in March has lots. I can usually come home with T-shirts for everyone. The occasional yo-yo, a handful of pens, actual glass drinking glasses from one particular vendor, a number of cloth handbags and more printed material than you can shake a stick at.
    This past March, the particular sessions I signed up for got me a USB stick shaped like a lighting instrument. I thought those were pretty highly coveted, but some people have several and didn’t care anymore. And then, like a good Lutheran, I volunteered to stay and help clean up on the third day and got another one. BONUS!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh, I had forgotten about attending conventions. Back in the day when I’d attend the annual ALA conventions, there was lots of swag. Notebooks, tote bags, pens, hats, candy bars, t-shirts, and lots of gimmicky items that some people actually craved. I tried to steer clear of most of that stuff, except from vendors I was already familiar with or whose products I was actually interested in. The deluge of sales calls and unsolicited literature that would result from handing out your business card during the convention was just too much. Haven’t thought about that in a long time, and I sure don’t miss it.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I have a large collection of those little fans you get at the state fair, the kind with the wooden handle and the company logo on a piece of boxboard. I like to keep them close to the smoke alarm that’s closest to my kitchen. That way when I cook bacon and the smoke alarm goes off, I just grab a couple of fans and wave at it frenetically.

    Liked by 2 people

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