Friday, November 13, 2009

I Love a Parade!

by Joan Kayse

Well, the holiday season starts in just a few short days when we Americans gather with family and friends to give thanks for our blessings, eat like a Porky Pig a parade!

Let’s face it, for some of us Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving without watching the Macy’s parade. I LOVE seeing that original, simplistic Turkey float with the flapping wings lead it off down Broadway in NYC. Iconic in every way, it reminds me of my childhood, of simpler times.

Tom is followed by marching bands, playing show tunes and Christmas songs, all while marching in perfect synchronization. Floats filled with celebrities, balloons in every shape and size being skillfully guided between the skyscrapers. Clowns.

Um, we’ll forget the clowns. My apologies to any clowns out there but…..anybody see the movie It (shiver)Anyway, it all wraps up with Santa and his sleigh ho-ho-hoing and launching the holiday shopping season which effectively started the 4th of July.

My next favorite parade is The Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day. I am FASCINATED with descriptions of these huge floats which have to be a certain percentage of plant material. “Yes, Bob those legs on the giant beetle are covered with wheat chaff the size of a gnat and individually glued on by the Rotary club volunteers using tweezers and puffs of air.”

Too cool.

It’s always inspiring, too, to hear how a small high school from Nowhere, America raised the money needed to come and play in this prestigious event by selling tweezers to the Rotary club. Dedication. Can’t beat it.

Still forgetting the clowns. Really, do ya think Clarabelle was REALLY that happy? Really?

So. What about you? Do you like parades? Which is your favorite? If YOU were a float or a balloon, what type would you look like?


limecello said...


limecello said...

Hmmm... I used to watch the Thanksgiving day parade always. Then I discovered the [joys] of attempting to make up for years of lost sleep over one holiday weekend.
Gotta say, I'm much more interested in the Rose Bowl than the Rose Parade. :X Though I "boycott" games sometimes, depending on which teams are playing.
Love the small town success stories though! As for a float... I'd like to be a balloon of some sort - even though I'm scared of heights. I mean, if I was a balloon it wouldn't matter! I've always loved Snoopy and Woodstock but... parades? :X I have no idea. Ideally I'd be the flashy float with the super that that everyone wants to be near :P

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lime, congrats again!

JT, those parades sound such fun. The Macy's one is so famous, we've even heard about it in Oz.

Actually I think clowns are creepy too. I must have had an unfortunate experience at a circus that my subconscious has blocked out ;-) When I worked in England, the lady who owned the shop LOVED clowns and used to collect them. It's amazing - you can get wooden ones and china ones and fabric ones. And every single one of them was ^&%%$$##$& CREEPY!!! Man, was it an ordeal visiting her house. All those clown eyes staring at me. AAAAAARRRRGGGGGH!

Jane said...

There are too many parades here to choose from, but my favorite is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Maybe we'll go see it live this year if the weather is nice. Snoopy is my favorite balloon. I also remember seeing a cute Hello Kitty one. We just had a great turnout for the Veteran's Day parade on Wednesday.

Buffie said...

Great post, Joanie!

We love parades in my family. We always watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And the kids love the Disney parades.

I was in a parade when I was child. It was a 4th of July parade, and I was in a group of baton twirling girls. We did a routine to Neil Diamond's "America". We wore cute little blue shorts with red shirts. I wonder if I can still do the around the world twirl.

Caren Crane said...

Congrats again, Lime! I'm sure the GR has redecorated your home to his tastes by now. Not sure what you'll do with all those hen pictures. Hm...

Joanie, I love a parade! I don't care much for the floats, but I adore marching bands. I have always loved to hear them play and watch them march. Love the color guard, majorettes (do they even have those anymore? Batons are so 20th century!), and cool patterns.

The best thing is to be standing on the street waiting for the bands to approach. The drums echoing in the distance, the dull roar of the brass. As they draw near, the drums have purpose, the brass becomes defined, then come the wind instruments and the trill of the flutes and - my favorite - the piccolo! Be still my heart.

We have a tradition here called the Cary Band Day parade. Cary, NC has hosted a Band Day for 51 years. It is a huge event and lasts an entire day (after the parade). My older daughter went this year and didn't get home until after 11:00. It's serious!

I'm not a float person, but I would love to have a float like the one in Ferris Bueller's Day Off where I could sing Danke Schon (sorry, there's no umlaut on my keyboard). Lots of singing and waving!

Caren Crane said...

Buffie, whatever happened to batons? Do girls still do baton? Growing up, any girl with something on the ball went to TTI - the Tennessee Twirling Institute - for baton lessons. I, naturally, did not go, but a couple of my sisters did. I could twirl only because they taught me.

I'm fairly certain twirling is like riding a bike. You never really forget, you may just need practice to get back to your old form. *g*

Joan said...

Rev up the marching band, Lime and the chook are together again.

Sleeping cannot be underrated Lime, but with the advent of DVR you can have your snoozies and parades too.

And a balloon scared of heights? LOL...but hey...mind working here, mind working. We could totally make a balloon of the GR!!!!

Then the height of it would match his ego!!

Joan said...

Oh, Anna...the horror....


We had a local TV show when I was growing up with a "Presto" the clown. On the surface, he seemed "ok" but there was the way he wore that little hat on the SIDE of his head.

Too bad you can't get coverage of the parades down under. They are pretty cool.

Joan said...


Good weather is always welcomed. If it's cold in NYC on Thanksgiving I always feel sorry for the people parading down without coats, gloves.

Not the clowns though.


Joan said...

Buffie the Baton Babe!

I remember playing around with those when I was younger. A real skill that I admired.

I've never been in a parade but we have a local one every year here in Louisville in association with the Ky Derby called the Pegasus parade.

That's the closest I've been to one. It's not as grand as it used to be when we had celebraties like Bob Hope and John Wayne as grand marshals.

Joan said...

Caren, what a cool description of the band approaching.

I LOVE drums. Love. Them. Tubas not so much.

As I recall you were in one, correct? HOW did you learn to march and play like that? At the SAME time?

And how did you avoid the clowns...hmmmm??

Susan Sey said...

Hey, Joanie, I'm totally a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade girl, too! We keep our TV downstairs in the living room, but one day a year (Thanksgiving, when I'm trapped in the kitchen all day), we bring up a little portable TV from the basement & put it in the kitchen so I can watch the parade. The entire family crams in, I put them to work and it's a jam, crammed, elbow-to-elbow holiday.

Loves it.

Beth said...

I love Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, Joanie! We try to watch it each year and last year I told my husband that one of these years we need to drive to NY and watch it live :-)

Last year was also the year my niece was in Italy during Thanksgiving and asked her sister (during one of their Skyping sessions) to turn the laptop toward the TV so she could watch the parade *g*

Buffie! I was also a baton twirler - though I honestly can't remember if I was in any parades. I did try out for Majorettes in Jr. High School but didn't make it. Unfortunately, that disappointment ended my baton twirling career :-(

Andrea said...

Joanie, we LOVE parades in my house! The kids and I always watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. It's so much fun waiting for a favorite character to pop up on the screen. :)

Buffie, you're bringing back memories!! I had a baton when I was younger (I begged and begged for it for my birthday) and I loved twirling it! And I was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. :)

Christie Kelley said...

I do like to put on the Macy's parade while I'm getting some of the side dishes started. My husband marched in it when he was in high school. He still talks about that today.

Nancy said...

JT, did you know Clarabelle went on to become Captain Kangaroo?

Limecello, congrats on grabbing the rooster!

Joan, our Thanksgivings were held hostage to parades schedules for six years. My sister and I both were in the high school band, which marched in the local parade every year. Since I was 3 years ahead of her, she started when I finished. So we always had our big meal in the evening.

March a couple of miles after stuffing in turkey, dressing, bread, casseroles, and dessert, and blow into a wind instrument while doing it? I don't think so. The very idea makes my stomach clench.

But I love watching parades. The Macy's parade is great fun, and I share your enjoyment of the Rose Bowl (and did everyone see George Lucas last year? The stormtrooper legions held a lottery to see who got to march with him, according to a stormtrooper from the 501st we saw at DragonCon afterward).

I just wish the commentaters wouldn't yap over the marching bands, who are working way hard and deserve their moment in the sun.

Of course, I'm prejudiced. :-)

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Joan, and Congratulations to
Limecello on catching the rooster
again ( and again........)

I love parades! I was in parades
with my HS drum and bugle corps
in my western style uniform. In
college days, we helped to decorate
floats for Houston's Thanksgiving
Day parade. That year, I ended up
riding on the back of a convertible
IN the parade! For some reason the
person scheduled to do that didn't
show up. I was the only University
of Houston female student there who was wearing a dress, so I got
that "task." LOL

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Joan, if I were a float or a balloon (overlooking the whole balloon puffiness issue), I'd be the Superman balloon and float down 5th Ave.

Gannon Carr said...

I love parades, especially the charm of the small town parades we have here. And of course, there's nothing like a Disney parade!

I was in a few parades in junior high and high school--you know the home-made floats you do for homecoming. Ah, the good ol' days!

Anna, my 21 year old niece is absolutely terrified of clowns. She can't even look at a picture of one. We have no idea why.

Caren, I love that scene in Ferris Bueller! But then again, I love the whole darn movie..."Ferris Bueller, you're my hero." LOL

Nancy said...

Caren, our high school marched at Band Day my sophomore year. We took 3rd and were not only delighted but stunned since we didn't realize there was a competition.

I think they do still have majorettes--or twirlers, anyway. My cousins in Florida were aces with batons.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

I do like parades. I think it'd be neat to see one of the biggies in person, though I'd probably go for the Rose Bowl. I might freeze to death during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

Trish, I was in NYC just before Thanksgiving last year. The wind chill was 11 degrees. I had the hood on my parka drawn tight and snapped up to cover my nose.

They got way more serious cold up there than we have here in the South.

Cassondra said...

Hi Joanie!

You know, I have not been a big fan of parades for a long time now. But I used to watch the Macy's parade and the Rose Bowl Parade every year, and I too was amazed at those flower descriptions. I used to wonder where in the world they could get that many flowers.

Then, wasn't there a parade from Hawaii at some point during the holidays? Isn't there a parade on Christmas day, too?

I like the ones in New York because of the big floating cartoon character balloons.

Hmmm...okay now I have to think about why I'm not a big parade girl any more.

Cassondra said...

OH, I used to march in parades because I was on a drill team. I forgot about that. It was cool. Those fun red tassles on our white boots and those gigantic red and white pompoms (which we, very professionally, called "shakers" NOT pompoms--I suppose there is a difference, since each of our "shakers" was a double pompom with a handle in the middle, which you could not see from a distance.)

Cassondra said...

Lime, I'm beginning to think you and the GR are in cahoots!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


FUN post! What could be more fun than a parade?!?! Okay... maybe there are a FEW things, but not many. ;-)

I marched in a few parades back in junior high when I was in the band. There is no subtlety in parade music. Just play as loud as you can and try to watch where you are walking. It was always a real drag to have to march behind an equestrian unit. :-P

As for watching parades, I LURVE the Rose Parade and hope to someday see it in person. One of my friends had a yearly reservation at a hotel along the parade route so they could watch from the balcony. I wanna do that someday!


Nancy said...

AC wrote: Just play as loud as you can and try to watch where you are walking. It was always a real drag to have to march behind an equestrian unit. :-P

Been there, done that, with the Budweiser Clydesdales in front. Lends a whole new importance to "watch where you are walking." *g*

Joan said...

Hey Susan!

Glad to see you're out of the cave!

My parents always had a small TV in the kitchen, so there was never any missing of parade action.

So what type of float/balloon would you be? Rocky the Rabid Squirrel? :-)

Joan said...

Beth, I think it would be SO cool to be in NYC to see the parade live!

I'm thinking the primo spots though are difficult to snag.

A couple of years ago though I was in NYC right before to see the displays in Macy's windows. Loved it.

Joan said...

So Andrea, another Romance Dish twirler. Check with Gannon and PJ and maybe ya'll could do a routine/presentation at next years M&M

Hmmmm....ever heard of FIRE BATONS???

Joan said...


How very cool that your hubby got to participate! What are some of his memories? Song played? Float in front of them?

Did they have to follow the equine groups and step HIGH???

Joan said...

Oh yeah, Nancy. I'm well aware of Captain Kangaroo's dark beginnings.....

So how did you all learn to march together? I know kids in band go to camp each year but do you have a lead person who starts the counting?

And I agree about commentators. They actually have lost their edge over the personaility to it, just reading off the cards.

Another thing with Macy's that kind of takes away from the parade feel is the stopping in front of the main store to do a Broadway number on the street.

While I love Broadway, doing it without a float just is wrong.

Joan said...

Wow, Pat! You got to be on the convertible???

That is so cool.

Hope there wasn't any strong winds that day LOL

Joan said...


I LOVE Disneyworld parades. One time we went after Aladdin had come out and the parade at MGM was themed by it.

They had animated camels being pulled along and halfway through they "spit" out water on the crowd.

And sympathy to your niece. I'd offer a boppy hammer weapon to defend herself but....think it would just encourage THEM

Joan said...

Trish, I'd love the Rose Bowl one too though....I THINK it can get pretty cool there in Pasadena.

I always watch the HGTV special on construction of the floats.


Joan said...

Hey Cassondra,

Yes, there USED to be a parade in Hawaii...and Detroit....and Philadelphia. The television stations used to go back and forth but not so much anymore.

The Philadelphia parade is a "mummers parade"....odd thing that.

Joan said...


Yes, there are a FEW things more fun than a parade....

Kiernan from TTVO knows of a few *wink*

And NONE of them involves clowns.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

What about you? Do you like parades? Which is your favorite? If YOU were a float or a balloon, what type would you look like?

I love a parade, and I have to see the Macy's parade or it isn't Thanksgiving. Oh, if I were a balloon I would be Underdog.

Cassondra said...

OH, I forgot about Underdog!

I love that balloon!

Helen said...

Congrats limecello


Your parades sound fantastic and lots of fun I have never been to a parade but have watched a few on TV one of my son in laws drove his old car in a parade a couple of weeks ago but I couldn't make it, but I am sure they are nothing like the Thanksgiving Parade you have in the States I have seen a bit of that on the TV.

I am not sure what I would like to be on a float or dress up as I would have to think on that one.

have Fun

Pissenlit said...

Congrats again, limecello!

I'm all about the Santa Claus Parade. I used to watch it on tv every year as a kid and finally made it out to see it in person one year in university.

If I were a float, I'd be sparkly and fun. Though if anyone asks, I'm not admitting to saying that. :D

Keira Soleore said...

Joanie, I adore parades, but in person not on TV. For some reason, the immediacy of it (like Caren described it) is lost on TV.

My cousin & I were in a city parade once as walkers, dressed up in some international costume--I forget what kinds.

I'd like to be on a float if I had to do it again and most likely singing as part of a group.

Joan said...

Underdog! Now there's another iconic symbol of the parade, dianna.

I don't think he was the actual VERY first one they had. I think....ugh....that went to a clown balloon.

Joan said...


Old, vintage cars are a must in our local parades too. Usually Corvettes. There are a fleet of them that always carry the celebs during the Pegasus parade.

Even our local high school homecoming parades will plop the homecoming Queen and her princesses on them.

That reminds me about the Rose Parade. They ALWAYS have the most BEAUTIFUL red rose covered float for that Queen and her court.

Joan said...


Ah, a Santa parade is the best, isn't it. Especially when your little.

I remember Louisville had one when I was a tot (That's right. Only ten years ago VBG). It was held in December on blustry downtown streets. Then you got dressed up instead of dressed appropriately for the weather.

In my cute little wool coat and hat I was toasty...except for my little bare legs. "Knee socks" just didn't get it Brrrrr

Joan said...


Singing? Like the Osmonds? Or what was that one group....bunch of enthusiastic college age kids...Christy Minstrels.

Dang. I think I just gave away a hint to my age.

But I like sparkly ala Pissenlit so add a few choruses from you and we'd have one rockin' float.

(psst, we'll hide the anti clown confetti cannons with marigolds)

Virginia said...

I always enjoyed watching the Thanksgiving Day parade. I haven't watched it is several years. There is always other things to do like reading.

Joan said...

Hey Virginia!

Oh, reading after a big Thanksgiving dinner...equals nap for me.

Kate Carlisle said...

Oh Joanie, I love parades!! My favorite is the Rose Parade and it's my annual tradition to stumble out of bed on New Year's Day and go flop down on the couch to watch the whole thing. If I'm lucky, the DH will bring me coffee.

Now, you're probably thinking, geez, Kate, you're only a few miles away from Pasadena and the Rose Parade. Why don't you drag your sorry ... er, behind ... and go watch it in person??

Uh, no. Absolutely not. That would involve me and huge crowds of people spending all night on the street, surrounded by frivolity and camaraderie. {{{shiver}}} Don't make me do that!!!

I also love the home town parade that runs through my SIL's small town on Fourth of July! The little baton twirlers are so cute and the truck bed floats are a crack-up.

Congrats again, Lime! But, um, people are starting to talk ... ;-)

Joan said...


I give you kudos for getting out of bed to watch it LIVE...

I've become addicted to my forward past the clowns....

And yeah, we're already talking about Lime and her new guy....feathers become her :-)

Dina said...

I love parades, don't go live anymore, too hard ot take the little ones alone. But the Christmas one was my fav.

MsHellion said...

Gotta watch the Macy parade...just gotta. But I don't watch the Rose Bowl parade...

If I was a parade? Something that would be a cross between Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Cooking Channel.

Joan said...


That's a shame you couldn't round up a little help to take the wee ones....

Seeing Santa at the end of the parade was magical. Sigh. Memories...

Joan said...

Wow, Mshellion, quite a combo there.

I see a huge cauldron (cooking channel) with Harry waving his wand like a ladle while Jack Sparrow simmers in the broth....

Just for a little while....

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Joanie! I can't believe Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away! Geesh, I have to clean the oven soon.

I never get to watch the parade. For probably the past 15 years I usually work Thanksgiving Eve, and sleep in the morning, after prepping the turkey and stuffing. Hubby cooks it and with the help of Rocky-the-wonder-dog, they baste it to perfection!

BUTmy daughter Lyndsey has always watched the parade every Thanksgiving morning. In fact, it isn't Thanksgiving if she isn't watching it. Hmmm...I have to ask her if now that she has little ones, she's still watching the parade?

Julia Smith said...

I'm very partial to the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which I've watched on TV since I was a kid. When I actually lived in Toronto and went to it IRL, I was in tears of joy.

I've always wanted to be one of the ladies with a huge skirt on a rolling platform, with little maidens tied to her skirt with long ribbons.

Joan said...

Suz! Don't let the parade pass you by!

Do you DVR??? I bet Rocky the Wonder dog could record it for you.

I hope Lyndsey is still watching...with her babies so THEY will have memories..

Joan said...

Hey Julia, Toronto sounds like they know parades.

Better little maidens then...yanno...clowns tied to her skirt.

Yes, I will be having dreams tonight....

Pissenlit said...

Julia - I've always wanted to be one of the ladies with a huge skirt on a rolling platform, with little maidens tied to her skirt with long ribbons.

That was always my second choice. I totally wanted to be the Snow Queen(or whatever she was called...I forget...the one on the blue and white float). :D

Nancy said...

Joan, we started marching two weeks before school started. We learned to march five yards in eight equal steps, leading off with the left and stepping on the beat. And everyone ends up marching together.

Eventually. :-)

Christine Wells said...

I'd be the Goodyear blimp! Har har:)

Fun post, Joanie! We don't tend to have parades on the scale of the U.S. ones, here. Australians tend not to be 'joiners' in that way. I'd rather shave off my eyebrows than stand in the sun in a crowd, waving, but if I had a lovely apartment overlooking the spectacle and a champagne glass in hand, I'd quite enjoy a parade:) Yes, I'm a princess.LOL