EDITORíS DESK: A (happily) unassuming parade
One of the great things about the St. Patrick's Day Parade is that it doesn't try to be a great parade. |
Don't get me wrong. O'Donnell & O'Donnell does a bang-up job of putting on the annual event, bringing in the top bands, car clubs, equestrian groups, etc., from the region.
Nevertheless (and this I think is a good thing) the parade comes across more as a jolly community get-together than some majestic happening like the Rose Parade out in California. To be an entrant, you don't have to qualify against some rigid standards of excellence. All you really have to be willing to do is pay the fee and then show up on time.
OK, so you might not get a prize if your "float" is just a pickup truck with a few balloons or your "marching group" consists of a couple dozen schoolkids who have no concept of walking in formation, but it's easy not to mind when the audience doesn't. For 21 years, up to 30,000 people have been lining the street for this gig, which means that a lot of them must be returnees.
Last year, for example, riding ordinary bikes to help monitor some young 4-H marchers, Therese and I kept hearing supporting cheers for our unpracticed group. It was probably the same for others like ours. People in the crowd knew they could just as easily be in the parade as we were. And I think they liked it that way.