Dogwood Arts Parade, Part One

Beautiful flowers, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Friday night was a spectacular night to be downtown. Bill Mize played at Morelock’s music for ten dollars: an amazing value. The second installment of Pecha Kucha was held at the Relix Theater on Central. Oh, and there was a little parade on Gay Street as well as music and activities on Market Square Mall. What’s an Urban Guy to do? Exactly what Urban Toddler tells him to do: Go to the parade.

Fire Safety House, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Dancing Girls, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Cool Cars, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

It’s my favorite parade of the year. I’m not sure if it’s because it comes in the spring or because it culminates the great fun of the Dogwood Arts Festival or if it’s the balloons. I think it might be the balloons. I doubt ours are on the scale of the Macy’s Day Parade, but it’s the same idea and it’s pretty exciting, whether you are an Urban Toddler or an Urban Grandaddy, to see a balloon so big it takes ten to twenty people to control it.

Knoxville Pipes and Drums, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Knoxville Pipes and Drums,

I got enough pictures that I liked to break them into two posts. Some of them are your usual car photos and some, like the floats with all the flowers, are pretty unique to this parade. As usual, when Knoxville culture and my little brain mix, some things strike me as pretty odd. I’ve got pictures of some of them and others I excluded. Wrestlers in a ring slamming each other about seems to be a necessary component of any downtown parade and that was repeated. A small child standing very near me, with a distressed look on her face said, “Hurt head!” Most unfortunate.

Huge fish balloons, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Seuss balloons, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Sharks chasing fish, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Early in the parade a disturbing float passed which was made to represent a house with smoke floating from a second floor window. The ill-conceived portion of the float was the inclusion of children in the first floor. I realize the point, I’m not completely dim-witted, but it seemed a bit heavy to have children displayed in the parade who might not survive to the intersection of Union and Gay.

Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

We got the Knoxville Pipes and Drums early in the parade. More bagpipe! Also in the first half a sequence of fish followed by sharks. I was told it was from a Doctor Seuss book and they definitely looked Seussian. It certainly appears that Knoxville insists on having Noah’s Ark in every parade. This was a very good ark, complete with animals and children, but as with the Christmas Ark, it was an odd blend of Bible scholarship. The rear of this particular arc featured a cross with, thankfully not a body, but with a purple scarf draped across it. Given the poor state of Bible scholarship among young people (they don’t get Biblical illusions in literature – trust me, I’m a librarian), do we really want to have a cross riding on the ark?

Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Ark and Cross, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Stealing the show, GA band, Dogwood Arts Festival, 2011

There were a few Knoxville high school bands in the parade, but the show was stolen by a high-stepping, dancing band from Georgia. They absolutely rocked the house. This was soon followed by another highlight for me: a Wells Fargo Stage Coach. I know you youngsters are scratching your head at this, but for those of us who grew up waiting for the next John Wayne movie or remember watching westerns with our dads, this is a special vehicle. I don’t know if it was an original or (more likely) a replica, but it was way cool.

Wells Fargo Coach, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Hard Knox Roller Girls, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Local High School Band, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

The UT Alumni Pep Band had an attractive float on which they held their instruments. Oddly, they smiled silently. Fire trucks of various eras were sprinkled throughout the parade and I’ll end this half of the parade report there. Tomorrow I’ll conclude with the second half photographs.

Teen Queen, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Pep Band, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

Vintage Fire Truck, Dogwood Arts Parade, Knoxville, 2011

One additional note: This week is Derby Week downtown with many great activities some of which are related to the Kentucky Derby and some of which are just good fun. There are singer-songwriter showcases and all sorts of activities. If you’d like to be on top of it before it happens rather than reading about some of it here after the fact, you can find what you are looking for here. Whether you are into the actual horse race or you just want to have some fun downtown, this sounds like great fun.