In small towns across America, the weekend after Thanksgiving means more than Black Friday shopping – it’s time for the Christmas Parade! I don’t live in a small town any more, but our parents live in or near small towns in Southern Ohio so some years we get to participate in the fun. This year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving we were in Mt. Orab Village, an Ohio town with a population of approximately 3,000, located 37 miles east of Cincinnati.
Small town parades vary by location but the main elements are the same. As start time approaches the kids get excited, clutching their empty candy bags, hoping to fill them by parade end with goodies thrown from floats. Adults check their cameras to make sure they are ready for the big moment when their child passes by in the band or on a float.
So come to the parade with me! (Click on any photo to see a slightly larger version.)
All small town parades start with a police escort – this gets the crowd excited! The parade has started.
Then the usual elements pass by including:
Bands – remember, small towns equal small bands, but the music and is big!
Characters passing out candy to the kiddies
Floats of all kinds, churches, clubs, civic groups, businesses
Heavy equipment and other local business and service vehicles
Horses – thankfully, usually near the end (take it from me, a former marching band member who has had to dodge one too many horse patties)
And of course, Santa Claus signals the end of the parade and the start of the Christmas season.
All parades are important in the life of a small town, but the Christmas parade is always the most exciting. They bring people into town, hopefully to shop and eat, always to visit. It’s fun for the participants and the viewers. I know we had a blast!
Note that this is not the whole parade – there were lots of participants and it was well attended. We were at the end where there were not many viewers but uptown the sidewalks were crowded.
Does your small town have a Christmas parade? What unique element is in your parade?