I love parades.
Not sure what it is about it, but I love a parade. Waving to people you don't know, clapping and cheering for patriotic displays, seeing all the fanfare and festivity . . . it's all good fun.
So when my dad suggested that we put together a family/business float in my home town's 4th of July Parade I was thrilled. What a great idea!
So here's a piece of history . . . . Back in 1983, at the tender age of 3 1/2, my parents entered me in a little pageant that our town held during it's 4th of July celebration. This is way back before the days of Toddler & Tiaras and pageant moms. It was just something for fun. The kids walked across the stage, answered a few questions like "what is your favorite color" (and in my case I sang I Am A Child of God), and then we sat on the stage while the rest of the contestants did the same thing. There were no sequined dresses, no rehearsal, no dance numbers, no make-up, no hairspray (well, maybe some hairspray - it was the early 80's).
End of the story . . . I won. Little Miss Gustine. I got a trophy and a crown. And I got to ride on a float in the parade.
Then in 1986, my brother Sam was also in the pageant and also won Little Mr. Gustine and also rode on the float. (Sorry, I don't have any photos of him in my possession)
So the theme for our float was obvious . . . . Former Little Miss and Little Mr. Gustine and their children. Not our children (we don't want people thinking any more crazy things about the Mormons). But our respective children.
All the float pictures came from Heidi . . . she was the photographer for the day and she did a great job. Thanks Heidi!
It was holy hot that day. 104 degrees. During the float assembly that morning we had the great idea to put the umbrella on the float. The parade route is all of 5 blocks, but thank goodness for 5 blocks of shade!
And here we come . . . .
Don't we look so patriotic! My mom made the red, white, and blue pendant banners ahead of time. And we helped with the tissue flowers. Sam had a banner made at kinko's. Just add some cute kids and you've got yourselves a first place float. (Yes . . . we won 1st place in our division!)
Conner and Payton walked along either side of the float and threw candy to the kids. Scott and Mason also walked behind to supervise and refill their buckets.
We pulled the trailer back to my parents' house and cheered for what a great ride it had been (and for the A/C relief). Really, it was such a fun experience to put a patriotic float together, ride down main street in our hometown, dad driving the semi, and grandkids waving and throwing candy.
It was fun to see a few familiar faces and classmates along the parade route. Some semi-familiar faces walked out of the crowd to take our picture. My dad's former banker actually hopped up on the semi steps to say hi while we were at a stop. My mom walked along the parade route and almost like a spy reported back to us all the nice comments and moments of recognition ("hey, that's Shannon/Sam.") she overheard.
I think the whole experience left us with a little high that day. Doing something with the community, doing something patriotic, and most importantly doing something as a family.
Dad, this was a fabulous idea. Thanks. Next time . . . water jets and confetti guns. :)