THAT WAS THEN…
When I was growing up in the dairy farm country of southeastern Pennsylvania, the annual July Fourth parade was a huge event. Everyone would bring their lawn chairs or blankets and the entire community would gather along the route, visiting with neighbors as they waited for the parade marshall to arrive, signaling the beginning of the parade.
Children shouted back and forth, turned somersaults in the grass, and called to their friends across the street. Excitement was high.
After all, it was the 4th of July, Independence Day in the United States, and in rural Pennsylvania we celebrated the 4th in a BIG way. It didn’t matter that the parade wasn’t very long, that every fourth or fifth parade entry was a fire truck, a milk truck, or a Boy Scout troop marching down the street behind their leader. The parade was a huge event in our little country town, and after the parade we could all follow the marchers to the carnival grounds at the end of the parade route. There we could ride the merry-go-round and other rides, eat cotton candy, win prizes at the penny arcade, and stay out until long after nightfall, when we would finally wend our way home through the darkened streets.
THIS IS NOW…
Living in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, I had often heard of something called Parade the Circle. This annual event, now in its 26th year, takes place in the University Circle area of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer newspaper described it as…an artful event of floats , musicians, stilt-walkers, dancers, parading artworks and more, featuring more than 1200 participants, including more than 80 groups and 44 local and international artists from across the U.S., Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Brazil and beyond. The newspaper headlined it as Showtime at the Circle, and what an amazing show it was and so much fun! My daughter, Alison, grandchildren Michael and Emmy, and I arrived at 10 am for the parade that was scheduled to step off at noon, and, like the families waiting for the parade in my childhood days, we passed the time chatting and being entertained by the little children playing along the curb. Anticipation was high and everyone was in a celebratory mood. And then the parade began with a group of colorfully costumed “creatures” (pictured above) leading the way. And it truly was a grand show. The parade participants interacted with the crowd along the curb; small
No invitation needed for the little kids to run out and get involved.
children and some bigger ones, left their seats and ran out to become part of the parade, jumping rope, running under the parachute and “high-fiving” the costumed creatures passing in front of them.
The excitement continued for almost two hours, and when the last costumed character passed by, the crowd rose from the curb and fell into line behind the last marchers, heading to their cars for the ride home. As we walked to our car, I said to my daughter, “That was a far cry from the July 4th parade in my hometown.” The excitement was equally high and celebratory at both events, and the families were just as excited, but there wasn’t a single fire engine or milk truck in sight in today’s parade. I didn’t see any scout troops either, but there were plenty of children and they were all having the time of their lives. “I’m coming back next year,” I said to Alison and she agreed.
Click a picture in this gallery to scroll through more of my many pictures of the parade. It wasn’t easy to capture the spirit of this event on my digital memory card, but I hope, by scrolling through these images, you can sense the spirit and enjoy the interaction between participants and watchers .
Thanks for joining me on this unusual photowalk. I hope you enjoyed the parade. If it reminded you of some special memories of your own, why don’t you share them in the comments or, better yet, blog about them. Making and preserving memories is an important part of blogging.
Carolyn aka Skip