Saturday, September 23, 2006

Population 800 - Homecoming Parade

The crowds are gathering.

This is the prettiest view in town. I'm standing up by the Methodist Church (right next to the large wood cross with lightbulbs that gets turned on around Christmas time.)

The parade opened with the American Legion honor guard. I'm sorry I didn't make it down the hill in time to get their photo. They're all getting pretty old, and they are fine men. The high school band (here rounding the corner) comes next. They sound bigger than they look. And of course, some of the members are already suited up and over at the football field. (Notice the block long gap between the band and the next unit - the parade starts pretty strung out and bunches up at the end. It's always this way). My nephew is playing the sax, but he's on the far side and you can't see him very well. By three steps around the corner, the band members have ditched their uniforms and headed back to the street to mingle and watch the rest of the action.

Note people on roof. 364 days of the year you could take a picture of Main St and catch maybe four people total.

After the band come the elementary school units interspersed with fire trucks. The trucks in this shot are our own, but there are also units from nearby towns. The guys (and women) take pride, and well they should. These are all volunteers, and we would be in a hard place without them.

After the fire trucks come the commercial units. There were quite a few this year, again including some from neighboring areas. This is just a sample:

Fuzzy photo of hearse. This one is local.

Truck with T shirt cannon from Argyle. Note attempted launch into open window resulted in white shirt on roof of building. Yes those are giant canvas lawn chairs on the flatbed.

This one's from Hollandale. It's a mounted deer head on the back of a pickup truck. Mounted deer heads are significant around here. There is a big show every year at the hall up at the bowling alley, with prizes.

There were also (not pictured) various pieces of heavy equipment. And the bank employees walked with a banner and tossed little flying disks. The bank closed early for the parade because who is going to be banking during the parade and even if they wanted to they probably couldn't get through the crowd in front of the door.

There were also: two horses (with riders), one pony cart and two challengers for state office. The incumbents didn't bother to show up.

After the commercial section come the Alumni floats

The Class of 1945.

I forget which class this was, I just really, really like that John Deere.

This year the opposing team are the "Zephyrs", so a lot of alumni floats featured outhouse humor. I was standing next to one of the judges, who felt it was too crass. But she had spent a number of years living away from town in cities even bigger than Madison. I pointed out that on the bright side, this year there were no alumni floats with any religious or racial slurs of any kind, which is pretty good.

Men in drag always feature prominently. I have no idea why, except maybe Homecoming is just the closest thing we have to Mardi Gras.

Well, I missed photos of the princesses, and I have no excuse, because they come around twice, once near the beginning of the parade and once at the end. They looked pretty, up on the backs of convertibles; and I was pleased that the Homecoming Queen had a healthy build, not scrawny. After their second pass, some of the crowd headed back into the bars, and some (mostly older and more dressed up) went over to the Legion Hall for coffee, and some went to the game. But it was starting to rain, so some of us just headed for home.

1 comment:

CatBookMom said...

Great parade! Great post!

Ages ago I lived in Cody, WY, population 5,000 if you counted the jackalopes. The 4th of July parade was a bit larger and more organized than yours, but only because Cody has a night-time rodeo every night all summer, so some out-of-town cowboys, cowgirls and fancy horses filled in the occasional empty spots.

Not so small as 800, but similar in many ways.