It's been quite a long time since we last went to a Santa Claus Parade, but since our new town was holding theirs on the same day as our tree decorating party, we decided that it was time to remedy that oversight. Apparently, for the past few years, they have been holding the annual parade at night, and I must say that it helps to set a nice mood. Lots of people attended, and a high spirits filled the air. I took this shot of Cuppa before it began. Behind her, you can see the lights on Main Street. Although they look mighty festive, they are actually left up all year round, and I think they're a great touch.
As you can see, minutes before the parade, cars were still driving the street, but the oddest thing was that they were allowed to park on one side of the street during the parade. Indeed, a few chose to watch from that vantage point. I found that to be very strange, indeed.
For a small town, the parade was surprisingly long. Of course, there were no spectacular floats. A lot of trucks went by pulling trailers of people trying to assume Christmasy poses. There were a lot of walk-bys, like the Girl Guides in the photo to the left, and many participants were dressed in old-fashioned, Dickens-like garb. There were three small highland bands with bagpipes and drums, but no real marching bands as such.
My American friends may not realize that marching bands are pretty much an American phenomenon. We have some in Canada at the community level, but as far as I know, no Canadian high school offers a marching band program. Of course, we have high school bands but of an orchestral and/or jazzy nature.
Sarnia, where we lived until recently, was a border town (with Michigan, 60 miles north of Detroit). Due to that location and it being a larger centre, they were always able to attract several big American marching bands, and they were always impressively terrific.
But all in all, I liked this small town parade very much. No one expected huge, fancy floats. They expected spirit and fun, and they were not disappointed. And that includes me.
(See Cuppa's blog for more photos and observations.)