I have been lucky enough to be involved in parades around the country since I was five years old.  Somewhere, I have a picture of me on my decorated bicycle to ride in the Hunt Lane July 4th Parade in Fayetteville, New York.  I remember attaching playing cards with clothes pins to the fender so that they made a noise with each spoke that passed.  There was also red, white and blue cray paper woven into the spokes.  It was hot.  After that, I marched with either the Little League team or the Pop Warner Football team.  We started at the bottom of the hill in the Village and walked up to Hamburger Pond.  In college, I took part as part of the Michigan State University Football teams march to the Stadium.

After college, I got involved with the Naperville, Illinois JayCees, a community service organization.  One element of the Last Fling (www.lastfling.org) is the Naperville Labor Day Parade.  Early in the 1990’s, I was part of the group of volunteer members that put the parade on.  It was here that I integrated my first parade in 1991.  I also learned two important lessons in parade design.  First, don’t put an equestrian unit in front of a marching band.  It just is not pretty.  Second, don’t expect a bagpipe band unit to move on your command.  They will go when they are ready.

In 2002, I got involved with the Chicago Festivals Association.  They were the company responsible for creating and executing the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade.  Dawn had “Be a Balloon Handler” on her bucket list.  We volunteered and had a great time, working on the Rudolf Balloon.  (Look for the fun story and maybe even a video clip if I can find it elsewhere here)  After that, I ran the Communications Command Center for a number of years before expanding my parade horizons.

The next Parade for me was the 2007 Coney Island Mermaid Parade, which was followed by adding the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, the Dance Parade, the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Fiesta Bowl Parade, and the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

And I am always looking for more.

See ya’ on the route,

Parade Guy

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