Saturday, September 16, 2006

Small Town Parades: How Quaint

I was out last Saturday morning eating breakfast at a fast food joint when I got a call on my cell phone from my mom inviting me to come on down and watch the parade with her.

Parade? Was it that time of year again already? The Edinburgh Fall Festival had completely slipped my mind.

I always attend the festival, at least once during its run each year. I was happy my mom had decided to give me a call. So I called home and told my daughter to get ready, because we were going to see the parade.

It’s not that the parade itself is really spectacular or anything. I mean, I was at the Indy 500 Festival Parade last May and even it didn’t raise any goose bumps. And I knew what to expect; after all, I had attended the Fall Festival Parade almost every year since I was in high school.

You expect to see certain things in small-town parades that perhaps you wouldn’t see in the larger parades in cities. There are always the fire trucks, police cars, and other noise makers. There are high-school bands, cheerleaders, football players of various ages, and queen contestants.

In past years, there were kids on decorated bicycles or with dressed-up pets, but not this year. There were some pretty imaginative floats, though.

Of course, there are always the obligatory men with big hats driving tiny little cars. And it just wouldn’t be a parade if it weren’t for the classic cars and a few horses with men carrying flags.

What I have never been able to figure out, however, is why there are entries such as the semi truck. Seriously, I see enough of those annoying beasts on the Interstate without having to see and hear one in a parade.

Then there were the motorcycles. Big deal. And what about the occasional car or pickup truck that seems to have nothing special about it at all, other than maybe some giant tailpipes sticking in the air and a noisy muffler? The one I saw in the parade Saturday wasn’t even clean. Maybe it just joined the parade by cutting in at an intersection somewhere.

It’s not that I’m whining; I just don’t think the parade was so short or lacking in entries that commercial vehicles, motor cycles, and dirty loud pickup trucks spewing exhaust fumes had to be accepted.

Anyway, when the parade was over, we went over to the midway. It was pretty much the same as I remember from pervious years. There were lots of people and plenty of food booths.

I enjoy seeing folks I haven’t seen in a year or two. And on a nice day, the midway is so alive and colorful. It’s a nice atmosphere: The food odors, the game barkers, the screaming kids having fun on the rides. It’s what the festival is all about.

But I miss the nightly entertainment that used to bring in hundreds of people to participate in karaoke or show off their talent. Those events don’t happen on their own, though. It takes dedicated people willing to put in a lot of effort.

The fall festival has been a tradition in Edinburgh for more than 60 years. Different sponsors come and go. The quality of the affair waxes and wanes every few years. But it’s still a tradition I enjoy. And it doesn’t hurt that it takes place at the beginning of my favorite season of the year.


trucker1 said...

Just in case you didn't realize that commercial vehicles bring you everything you need from food to clothes and everything in between.
If you were in the trucking business you would appreciate any "free advertisement" you can get. Just in case you haven't looked around Edinburgh there are a lot of people who depend on the trucking industry.I feel like since you voiced your opinion about the "annoying beasts" (semi's) you should take the time to educate yourself on the importance of those annoying beasts everytime you pull yourself up to the table,put gas in your car and everything else you do. Can you imagine how much your license plates would cost you if it weren't for the trucking industry paying out nearly $10,000 per vehicle in tax revenue each year? You have voiced your opinion twice in recent memory and I think you owe those of us in that business a little respect. What gives a former pizza delivery boy turned opinion journalist the expertise to demonize any industry before taking the time to famiarize yourself with it? Just curious,how many miles have you ridden in one of those annoying beasts? We drive our trucks approximately 150,000 miles per year per truck, so for your uneducated opinion to matter your name would either be on the door of the annoying beast or the parade grand marshall don't you think?

Jerry Wilson said...

Don't assume I'm not educated about the importance of trucks. If you did read the first opinion column you referenced you realize that I said I had nothing against truckers, only the trucks. And yes, I know all about how very important they are in delivering everything I buy and paying road taxes. That doesn't mean I can't still think they're annoying on the highway; they are. And they have no business in a parade because they're nothing special to look at.