I really like parades – the enthusiasm, the excitement and the crowds.
Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the chance to be a part of one in a long time, but I did this year in the Fairfield Independence Day parade. Prior to that, it was the inaugural Memorial Day parade, also in Fairfield. The folks from the National Association for Uniformed Services, Frank Kelley, Horace Little and Carl Hinton, worked with the downtown association to put the first Memorial Day parade in motion.
Carl, Frank and Horace met in my Jefferson Street office after the parade and kicked off the Tools of Learning for Children Citizenship program. It’s still jointly sponsored by the Pacific Gateway Chapter of NAUS and Tools.
This year, I rode in the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group float ensemble. I was really surprised at the number of folks who turned out. Our float was No. 54 out of about 60. It was a happy and good-natured crowd. My guess is there were thousands of spectators there. Most applauded every float, even our modest one. Carla and John Nelson carried the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group banner.
We got there early and had a long wait. The parade began at 10 a.m. It was after 11 a.m. before we were able to get rolling. I rode “shotgun” in the pickup pulling the float. I waved small American flags all the way.
We had plenty of time to finish decorating the float. We added more flags and more bunting. We had creative decorators who made things work by taping small parts together to make large parts. The result was very satisfying. It got some crowd applause and I think it deserved it.
We waited behind the Starbound Theatre youth group for a long while. I had a chance to chat with one of the directors, a charming woman. They do very good work in Napa and Solano counties. The county is blessed with groups that develop the talents of young people like the Fairfield Civic Theater used to do.
If there is a downside to being No. 54, it is that you don’t get to see the first 47 floats. I guess that’s true in almost every parade. We were able to watch the entries from about No. 48, the Starbound float. Several horses and their riders were ahead of us. We were a little concerned about following behind them but needn’t have been because a Boy Scout troop followed close behind the horses and cleaned up after them. Kudos to the Boy Scouts!
There were a lot of vintage cars in the parade. We got to see some of them parked alongside the street after they had passed the reviewing stand. Nice.
Maybe we’ll be able to see the whole thing on community access cable TV.
Someone asked if I would be a part of the parade again. Without hesitation, the answer is yes. But we’ll come a little later and have the float ready earlier.
There was only one small irritation during the parade. As we approached the finish, someone yelled out, “Viva Mexico.” That person can believe whatever he wants to, but a parade honoring America’s independence is not an appropriate time or place for that.
But if you have thousands of happy, courteous spectators and just one you disagree with, that isn’t bad.
Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or [email protected]