Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Potential Polish for Parade

We should probably feel special that Silver Spring (and not Rockville) has the privilege of hosting Montgomery County's annual Thanksgiving parade. As stewards of the event, I think it is our responsibility to strive to make it as entertaining as possible. While viewing this year's parade on Saturday, I made a mental list of things that could be done to enhance the viewing experience. Sure, MoCo's little procession is no Macy's parade, but there are some things that could be done to increase the entertainment value of the event. Some stuff is good as-is, like the marching bands and the various South American dance troupes, but there is certainly plenty of room for improvement.

Here are a few suggestions:

- Better presentation. I think that if an organization wants to be represented in an event of this nature, it really needs to put a little more effort into it then just strolling down the parade route in casual clothes or matching t-shirts. Take the Boy/Girl/Cub scouts for example. Aren't those organizations intended to make kids useful? Put all those merit badges to work. How cool would it be if they constructed a human-scale pinewood derby racer and paraded it down the street? (Did they actually have this and I missed it?) I've personally witnessed useless, drunk college kids construct fantastic floats for parades, so I'm sure that the fine upstanding citizens of our community could pull together to come up with something creative for this parade. An SUV with a stuffed animal on it does not a float make.

- Filters. It seems like any group that submits the requisite forms is allowed to participate. For goodness sake, even proponents of the library pedestrian bridge had dozens of people in the parade (yet they can't cross a street?). Even boring corporate entities such as apartment management companies were represented, even if their contribution amounted to nothing more than a generic balloon with their company logo printed on it. I'm sure they do a fine job scheduling the exterminator and having your sink fixed, but do we really need to see them in a parade? There needs to be someone in charge of quality control that has ultimate authority to give the thumbs down to prospective participants whose participation doesn't enhance the overall experience.

- Zombies. It suddenly struck me as I watched the parade - why in the hell is the Silver Spring Zombie Walk not represented here? Next year, God willing, we shall have zombies in the parade. Hopefully the parade powers-that-be are not too squeamish to allow such a thing. If they come back with the argument that zombies would scare small children, I am going to call BS. This year's parade already included the most terrifying creatures on the planet - clowns.

- More giant cartoon character balloons. What is a Thanksgiving parade without these? I don't know if it fell off a truck or something, but for whatever reason there was a giant Darth Stewie balloon in the parade. What does this have to do with Montgomery County? Absolutely nothing, but who cares? We need more of these. I don't care if they have to use a filthy, patched-up Odie balloon that hasn't been floated since 1986, just get it done.

- A live-action Rickroll float.

- Consolidation. Why have each of county council members spread throughout the parade in individual cars? That's not very "green", now is it? Why not instead have a float featuring a mock up of the county council chamber with all the councilpeople seated together in a simulated council session? They could even argue about the Fillmore or something. Far more efficient and entertaining. Also, if every fire department in the county is going to be represented, why not line up all the emergency vehicles in a row? The way it is now, all the various county fire departments' trucks are interspersed throughout the parade. I could see a more exciting "parade" if I set my house on fire. Why not just put them all together and simulate a ten-alarm fire? Also, more dalmatians.

Well, that's just my $0.02 on the matter. Make me the parade master (there is probably a really cool German word for this) and I'll make it happen.


brh said...

"even proponents of the library pedestrian bridge had dozens of people in the parade (yet they can't cross a street?)"

BAM! Well done.

PS, No blockquote tag support? Thanks for that, blogger.com!

ian.swank said...

Personally, I think we could use less of the Latin American dance troupes, or use consolidation so they're all together. It's great the first few times, but there must have been 5 or 6 troupes in the parade, with the same costumes and dances. It gets a little repetitive after awhile.

~Rupe said...

The title "Parade Fuhrer" does have an unsettling quality to it...

Dan Reed said...

These suggestions are solid. (I, too, noticed the truck for Southern Management Corporation, wherein a banner had been tossed over the logo of an apartment complex in Oxon Hill.) Though, as the driver of one of the County Councilmembers in the parade, I'd argue that very few of them would willingly give up the personal spotlight for an admittedly hilarious Council Chambers mockup float.

Anonymous said...

I was most annoyed by the fire engines blaring their sirens right in front of the spectators. I understand that they want to show off, but I think it was only harming themselves - and children's ears. I almost walked up to them to point it out.

Robert said...

The library bridge supporters in the parade weren't trying to cross Wayne Avenue with lots of traffic and Purple Line trains while toting heavy bags of books and herding small children.

It isn't surprising that there were dozens of bridge supporters in the parade. A lot of Silver Spring library users are pretty frustrated about it being much more of a pain to get to the new library than it is to get to the current library. A bridge to make it easier (and safer) to get to the library -- which will be on the third floor of the new building -- from the parking garage will help a lot.

Sligo said...

Actually, it looked like they had recruited a bunch of kids to march in support of the bridge.

WashingtonGardener said...

Yeah, because NO crime happens amd no peds are hit in our local parking garages... Ahem.
Back to the parade improvement ideas - more animals, more candy, fewer emergency vehicles, and no "classic cars" that are post-1970.
Can we also combine Beauty Queens and politicians into shared car-pooks in the parade? That way everyone can say "who is that?" and "never heard of them" in unison?

wombat said...

More animals and zombies, definitely, and I agree we could use fewer of the folk dance troupes. But otherwise I think it's cute that it's so unpolished and small-town.

The real question though: where's the Local Bloggers float?

Tina & Drew said...

Even better... Zombie clowns: http://left4dead2.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/left4dead2_clown.jpg

Paulette said...

I skipped the parade this year mostly because I was bitter that last year when I was on penguin duty it was freeeeezing. So I boycotted by cozying up to coffee at Mayorga (where, unfortunately, the frother broke). But I think your suggestions are sound. What I love though is that so much of it is kinda homespun, and I'd hate to lose that element. I really enjoy our blog, btw!

ForestGlen said...

As an aside congestion in the parking lot was a nightmare following the parade. My wife and I sat in our car not moving for 15 minutes before pulling back into the parking spot we had vacated and walking the 2 miles to our house ... which wasn't so bad since it was a nice day out, but trust me there were a lot of unhappy people stuck in that parking garage.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am completely opposed to "quality control." This is a hometown parade for Silver Spring and it does not need to be over-managed like everything else in Montgomery County. Leave the parade alone!

Sligo said...

Sounds like the attitude some people have towards "local" restaurants. Because it isn't a chain, quality standards are irrelevant. Besides, it's not Silver Spring's parade, it's Montgomery County's.

WashingtonGardener said...

Sligo -
A. the parade originated as an SS tradition down what is now Fenton Village
B. no one outside of SS seems to know jack about this parade - I asked my friends in G-burg, Hillandale, Bethesda, etc. if they were planning on attending - NONE had heard a whisper about it - even folks within walking distance here in SS/TP mainly are unaware of it 'cept if they were caught in the traffic or detours that morn - sad.
First thing it needs is county-wide, sustained publicity.

Anonymous said...

It is charming but naive to think that "marketing" would bring people from Bethesda or Potomac to Silver Spring.

They do believe they would be carjacked, robbed, stripped of their designer clothing and dumped in some horrifying neighborhood lacking a Starbucks should they venture west of Connecticut Avenue.

As GOP council candidate Mary Kane said in a revealing comment a few years back when discussing the Purple Line, there's no need (in the view of those in the west county) to travel from Bethesda to Silver Spring.

I have no quibble with most ideas about improving Silver Spring including tearing down City Place. Immediately. But this is really a Silver Spring parade, despite the Moco label, so it can be allowed to reflect Silver Spring reality. Chains and all.

Skateboard Mom said...

WashingtonGardener, my experience was the same.I talked to several kids at a nearby school (SSI, right down Wayne Ave.) as well as a bunch of kids who are often downtown, who had not heard about the parade.

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