I Love a Parade

Last Thursday morning at 6:00,  Husband and I and four of our travelling companions  left our hotel on Times Square, walked down 49th St, crossed  Broadway, and made our way over to 6th Ave where we found a nice open space of sidewalk right across from Simon and Schuster Publishing  House to claim as ours for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Prime areas near the corner were cordoned off, reserved for widows and orphans of police and fire fighters.

The curbside was already claimed by some intrepid souls who got there at 5:00. It was cold, but we felt warm gusts of air from the subway through grates in the sidewalk.  The teenager in our group promptly laid down on the metal grates and went to sleep until the parade started.  I kept pretty warm in my lined jacket, but it really helped when a Netflix representative handed out Green Eggs and Ham earmuffs to everyone around us.

 Police patrolled on foot and bicycle, and were blocking off side streets with metal barriers. The people nearby us were from Arizona, Minnesota, and Connecticut as well as City residents.  We shared stories and took turns getting coffee and pastries as the sun rose.

The parade began many blocks north in Central Park, and got to us at about 9:30.  There had been much anxiety if the balloons would fly, as it was pretty windy, but fly they did, although closer to the ground than was typical. The were loads of clowns in charming costumes, dancers of all ages, lots of stilt walkers,  and lovely floats. Many of the participant were school aged children who looked  so happy and proud to be in the parade. I really liked the Christmas trees on stilts.

The marching bands were from all over the country.  Their chaperones and parents marched right along behind them. We had fun judging the straightness of their rows and columns.  (“Guide right!”) The biggest group was The Second Time Around Marching Band comprised of dozens of quite aged baton twirlers, pom pom wavers, and musicians in natty uniforms  who looked ecstatic to be marching again. The floats were elaborate and featured singers, TV personalities, and actors. I wasn’t very familiar with most of them, but our teenager assured me they were  quite famous

Astronaut Snoopy was the first balloon, with the Grinch and his dog, Max the last.

The parade ended for us at 11:30 with Santa on his float.  The side streets were still blocked to motor traffic, and it was fun to meander with hordes of New Yorkers  in the lanes normally full of honking cabs and cars and buses.  We all trooped back to the hotel and took naps. It had been a long, cold wait, but well worth it.

Tell some parade stories. What would you like to do in a parade?

21 thoughts on “I Love a Parade”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Renee, the Macy’s turkey looks just grand and the other pictures of balloons are fun, too. Thank you!

    When I was a tiny child I saw some parades, but later from mid-grade school on, I was always in the parade. We rode on floats, made floats for 4-H and other community clubs, marched in the band, and participated in several ways in each parade.

    Renee, you might have experienced the Tulip Festival, too. Nineteen miles from my home town, In a very Dutch town, Orange City, Iowa, they hosted an annual Tulip Festival, which included a parade. The high school band marched in “Klompen”, the traditional Dutch wooden shoe. You could hear that band marching along like no other band. They always marched first, then lined up on each side of the parade, each person sitting on the Klompen of the band member behind them. It was a striking sight.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh yes, I marched in Orange City. The Oarnge City band members had real thick padding in those wooden shoes, and elastic straps to secure them on their feet.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Luverne has a big marching band festival every September. I marched in that many times, as well as in the field competitions. Our high school band marched a lot. I didn’t like it much, but I could see myself in the Second Time Around band under the right conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In 1950 my sister and I were dressed up in Tyrolean costumes to march in some city parade. Our St. Bernard, Bobo, accompanied us while wearing a big keg marked XXX attached to his collar. Although he was still a puppy, Bobo was over a hundred pounds.

    Why the Tyrolean getup? My dad probably chose that because the notion of a dog carrying booze appealed to his sense of humor. I remember nothing of this but know it happened because we have photos to document the occasion.

    I love your intro and photos, Renee!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I marched in some parades in high school marching band.
    Then once in with the theater community and since I owned both a truck and a flatbed wagon, I drove in a bunch.
    Our son rode on one when he was just a toddler. I can’t remember if Kelly has ever ridden. Been a lot of years since I was part of a parade in any way shape or form.

    Oh! Kids used to have costume parades at Halloween in elementary school; those were always fun.
    Some theaters will do a ‘costume parade’ for the director. Those aren’t as much fun. (Mig, Anna, have I got that term right? I only hear it once in a while down here).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always liked reading Calvin Trillan’s accounts in the New Yorker magazine of the Halloween Parades in his Greenich Village neighborhood.

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  6. The parades I really remember were in college at Iowa State, Ames. The spring festival called VEISHEA (acronym that included all the colleges: Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial, Science, Home Economics, Education, Agriculture. The parades were wonderful, esp. for a small town of 25,000… My then boyfriend was in engineering, and masterminded building his house’s mammoth float. I got to ride underneath during the parade, a stealth move that I’m sure was illegal or something, but had a certain prestige to it.

    I see in Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VEISHEA
    that they’ve finally had to discontinue VEISHEA due to violence and rioting in a few more recent years. That’s pretty sad, as the festival also included: a cultural fest called VEISHEA Village, and a musical production – Stars over VEISHEA.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. When YA was about five we went to the Great American Cheese Festival in Little Chute, Wisconsin. We had been to parades before but this was the first parade with candy being thrown. The family next to us had an extra plastic bag that they gave to YA. She was in seventh heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Of course my favorite parade is the one that happens every day of the state fair at 2 PM. Even on years when I go to the state fair over and over and over again I always go to the parade. Unless YA breaks her foot In the morning and I have to With the state fair to go to the hospital to pick her up before the parade starts.

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  9. Great photos and blog, Renee. Thanks for sharing. How did the performance at Carnegie Hall go?

    I have participated only in a handful of parades, but have seen quite a few in different places. Some a lot more memorable than others.

    The most fun and colorful was the pre-Fasnacht parade in Basel that I have written about here previously. Lot’s of elaborate and creative costumes and fife and drum bands in that one. If you’re into tanks, missiles, soldiers marching, and military bands, then the May Day parade in Moscow is the ticket. Locally, the Holidazzle parades in Minneapolis were quite elaborate with lots of colorful and brightly lit floats. I’d love to encounter a funeral parade in New Orleans, they sound like quite the events.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I will post about our concert later this week. It went quite well.

      I am at home with a cough and a cold this afternoon. Standing outside for hours last Thursday was not good for my health.

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