By crowd-count, this year’s parade looked like a big success, to me. I did not like the new parade route because it seemed to shorten the front end and make it more crowded. When the dust settled Friday night I had taken 150 photographs. I pretty easily cut that number to 85 for the blog, then cut a few more. Still, it’s too much for one post, so I’ll do two, pretty much taking it in chronological order. I will offer a few comments to get the topic started.
First, I think this year’s parade reflected improvements over previous parades for the following reasons:
Limited number of baton twirlers and dance teams
Fewer beauty queens in convertibles
Fewer floats about random religious events other than the birthday in question (there were two notable exceptions)
I didn’t hear “Rocky Top”
Just the right number of high school bands
No old men in funny hats scaring the children while dangerously driving go-carts
Which is not to say it couldn’t be better. There were definitely moments that prompted a head-scratching. I’ll give you a few thoughts along the way (for the people who read the words). As for those of you who only look at the pictures, well, you aren’t reading this sentence, anyway, so look at your pictures!
Just because I didn’t hear Rocky Top doesn’t mean we didn’t have plenty of sports emphasis. I’m not sure what makes sports talk vehicles a fit for a Christmas Parade. For my money, they could be left out, but then, I’m not paying any money and maybe they are for all I know. I just don’t really need to see these vehicles to feel the Christmas joy. That’s all I’m saying.
It’s good he got to be Grand Marshall this year, if you know what I mean.
I guess they are proud of it, but I’m not feeling the Christmas joy on this one, either.
We do love vehicles in the parade. Sometimes it seems a bit of ribbon or an extra light or two and we think any vehicle is a Christmas float. I always like seeing the horse-drawn fire truck, though. The firemen had several entries into the parade this year.
I’m not sure who this group is, but I think they might want to beef up their float for next year. It’s just a little too last-minute looking. Not that it was the only one. When there’s no more to a float than this it simply underscores that so much of the parade is made up of shameless self-promotion. I realize we’re a capitalist society, but easing off a bit for a Christmas parade seems reasonable, no?
Here’s another float with not much “there,” there. It turns into simply a billboard hawking a business when its this simple. It’s as if we don’t want to do anything with the float that will detract from the company logo. Also, I’m not sure what it is with little houses of various sorts, but they cropped up throughout the night.
Do not let your kindergarten Sunday School class make your props next year! Seriously, you have cartoon props, no live anything, nothing but a bit of paper and flowers surrounding this very heavy, didactic message on a billboard. It just doesn’t work.
I actually thought this one was pretty, not extremely elaborate, but not bad.
See what I mean about little houses worked into the floats? I’m guessing this one is supposed to be a church. Is that Jesus waving to the crowd? I’m not sure why that particular verse made it on to the float, unless it is self-referential. When designing a float for a Christmas parade, perhaps a good question would be, “What does this float have to do with Christmas?” If the answer is too theological and convoluted, you might send it back to committee.
No, no, no, no, no. This is not a float. OK, the motorcycle was cool, but really, a little effort, people!
You know, from my perspective on the street, Audra really did look cute. Still, I couldn’t help but think about all the poor majorettes who walked in the exhaust fumes from Audra’s car and wondered how they must feel trudging along behind the “most beautiful majorette.”
Only in the south. Please tell me it’s only in the south.
Cool float, sounds like a cool event coming soon. Christmas tie-in?
I have to say, that for some reason the Coldwell Banker cars always rub me the wrong way. I cringe to think about wearing one of their walking presents and wonder who those people are. Is it agents? Spouses? Hired presents? It just seems more shameless to me than the other self-promotion, but I’m not sure I can explain why it’s worse.
We always have at least one Elvis, and this year it was brought to us by the Sheriff’s office. I love our little Elvises and I think it’s justified just on the basis of “Blue Christmas.” Still, I wonder, do they have Elvis in northern Christmas parades?
It’s a house on a float!
Is someone playing a joke on the mayor in his absence? What does a tractor and this float say about our county? This might be a nice float in, say, Bull’s Gap, but in Knoxville? What is the message? I’d really like to know.
This isn’t terrible, but really, with Dollywood’s budget and creative staff?
OK, PBS, I’ll give you the same question as the County Mayor’s office – “What are you going for, here?” I see the Seuss bit in the back and that makes sense. But the truck? Is this a plea for donations? Is this a mockery of our region? Is this the ghost of Christmas future if the republicans de-fund public television? Help me out.
I’ll stop on that horrific image in hopes that it will inspire you to come back tomorrow for part two in which we see the most beautiful float of the year and the most disturbing float of the year.