Confessions of a Parade Geek

There are a lot of things that are great about living in a small town. But at the top of the list has got to be the parades.

Where I came from being in a parade was as attainable as getting nominated for a Nobel Prize.

I’d watch parade after parade every year, wondering if I’d ever get to march down a street carrying an instrument, or sit regally while waving from the back of a colored tissue filled trailer.

Oh, to be a waver instead of a wavee.

In the big city access to parade participation seems be largely based on some sort of secretive panel of elders who select individual floats based on the same logic that applies to lottery winners. The announcers would talk about the participants as if they had completed perfect SATs, rolled boulders up hill for days, and endured a grilling before a congressional subcommittee just to get an application.

But that didn’t keep me from dreaming. I became a parade geek, watching countless parades on TV, dashing out to the big ones even though it involved camping on the street for four hours beforehand. No kidding.

Fortunately I moved. And I found parade heaven.

In a small town, everybody can be in a parade. No kidding. EVERYBODY.

In fact, pretty much all you have to do is agree to show up. I mean it’s really sort of incredible that anyone is even left on the sidelines.

In our small town you don’t have to have pull in the mayor’s office or belong to some big company. You can just be… well… a parade geek. You don’t have to represent any one particularly important.

In fact, one year we were in the 4th of July parade representing our street -- which is only two blocks long.

That year we inexplicably won first place. I suspect the fact that we had dogs on our float and one of the judges was our local veterinarian helped.

This year both girls were in the Christmas parade on separate floats, one as an elf, the other as a Who from Whoville. Even our dog was in the parade, wearing a single deer antler on his head.

I walked between the floats trying to ensure no one got run over while we sped along at 5 miles an hour.

More importantly, we were all wavers. Even Dyno: