Knoxville marched a little further into Christmas season with the 2015 Christmas parade. The parade is always fun, sometimes confounding and a roll-of-the-dice for weather. This year’s parade kept the fun, was a little less confounding and the weather was just about perfect – dry and cool enough to feel festive without being painfully cold.
I think there were some improvements by omission this year: The violent images of wrestling and dead Jesus on the cross were mercifully missing. The right-to-life supporters marched, but spared us any fetus images that I could see. Also missing were most of the confusing Biblical elements like the Noah’s Arc we’ve had in the past. I think I counted about a half-dozen baby Jesuses and twice as many angels, and that’s certainly fitting.
There were a few things I have a hard time wrapping my head around. A big military vehicle of some sort was included in the parade along with several floats dedicated to the military. I get that people are nervous right now and that we are all appreciative of the military, but while the military is a reality we accept, it has always seemed an odd inclusion to me in a parade celebrating a baby believed to be born to bring “peace and goodwill” to the world. We also couldn’t figure out how Jeeps can be “for Jesus.”
Last year I expressed my discomfort with the inclusion of pit bulls in close proximity with children and in an environment to which they cannot be accustomed. I took a good bit of heat for misunderstanding and impugning the breed, but in the year since I said that, 30 people have been killed by dogs in the US. We know the breed in 26 cases. The score: 24 pit bulls, 2 rottweilers. Twelve of those victims were children under 10-years-old. That does not include the four-year-old boy who was killed by a pit bull in Detroit last week. Maybe it would be good simply to not include dogs in the parade. It’s just my opinion, my animal loving friends. Feel free to express yours, but be kind and gentle.
I loved the inclusion of Grinch and Charlie Brown. It was fun seeing Mr. Peanut and the Peanut float last seen in the Macy’s parade. My group wondered if he should have followed Santa who is the star of the show – in the secular part of the celebration, at least.
I have to give a big tip of the hat to the floats. I’m not sure if the weaker ones were culled or if people generally upped their game, but good effort was shown almost all the way through. I’m still waiting to see floats that are self-propelled, rather than pulled – like we had decades ago in Knoxville, but that’s a small quibble. Even the vehicles pulling the floats seemed to be decorated better this year and that’s a good thing. The Dollywood float seemed a bit better and the Shoney’s float is always good. The Beverly Baptist float also stood out, to us, as did the Tennessee Valley Fair float. We also really liked the Sunsphere float, though I didn’t catch whose it was.
It also seemed to my party as if there were more local marching bands included and we universally liked that. It just pumps up the energy of the crowd and I love seeing the little decorations on tubas and so forth. The bands really sounded good and, for our money, the drum corps make the show. One drum corps after another would be fine by us.
We loved the step team and I like the Christian rock guys who play and sing from the back of the One Life Church float. They are always good and in tune with the event and yield a good excitement dividend. Mario Brothers, Grinches and Charlie Brown characters were all good.
The Democratic Party showed up in a big way this year with Hilary, Bernie, Barak and Michelle cut-outs riding in cars. A Bernie sign got the biggest cheers in our area. It seems odd the Republican Party wasn’t out, though maybe they don’t feel the need in east Tennessee.
Urban Girl dug on the characters more than the floats. She liked the Chick-fil-a cows and the walking tooth and Tooth Fairy (who’s been pretty good to her this year). They came complete with a “Molar Express” which was very cute. She also was wowed by the Mayfield Cow all lighted up and, of course, Santa. The older grown-ups got a kick out of seeing the Mull tradition making a splash with their own float.
The Wesley House kids were completely cute and we loved the guy skiing behind the boat float. There was also a pretty cool airplane float. There were lots of other very cute kids, but the cutest of all that we saw was a group of four boys sitting in the street and chanting, “We want Santa. We want Santa,” repeatedly toward the end. By that time we all wanted Santa as the parade had started to seem a little long.
So, we rated it a success and went home happy, tired and a bit cold by the end of it. Thanks to Holly’s 135 which made fresh coffee for us and to Java for supplying hot chocolate for Urban Girl. And “hello” to everyone who stopped to talk and enjoy the night with us. I kept 90 photos and can’t use them all here, so I’ll post them to the Inside of Knoxville FB page sometime later today or tomorrow for those of you who’d like to see more.