I’m a little late out the gate with the Listening Post today, but I have a good excuse. Who would skip the chance to watch a parade? In this case it was the 55th annual Seaway Festival Parade in Ogdensburg, to which I had a ringside seat on Ford Street behind an information table, and just next to the great smells of street food prepared by the folks at Ogdensburg Presbyterian Church.
A good parade (and this was one) sort of gathers together all the hootiness and fun of which a small town is capable and puts it all out there at once, loud and proud.
Shiny fire engines blink and woo-woo and blat. High school marching bands put on their sequins, plumed hats and go-go boots and have at it with horns and drums and banners and batons.
The Shriners evacuate their day jobs and don their fezzes, riding tall bicycles and little tiny cars. State troopers, seven feet tall in their Stetson hats march in formation, convoyed by motorcycles. Bagpipers in kilt and full kit, clowns on stilts, this year’s festival royals waving a royal wave from the back seat of a convertible, and a bevy of dairy princesses mounted on a hay wagon. This parade had the full complement, even a steel drum band playing “God Bless America.”
And every kid in town, and from every town around, was out along the route rummaging for tossed candy, stuffing fire-engine red hot dogs and drinks of colors not found in nature into their mouths, wearing t-shirts expressing attitude and novelty hats expressing lunacy. It seems like all your friends and all your relations and all your neighbors and all their relations can be found somewhere along the route, standing in shades and sunhats, plunked down on folding chairs–or those fortunate enough to find a little lawn—on picnic blankets. Sunny and seventies with a light breeze off the river. You just gotta love a parade.