Parades a fun way to start the season

Published 9:35 am Friday, November 30, 2018

Everybody loves a parade.

And at Christmas time, it seems that every community has its own. In Davie County, we have three. Cooleemee had its first last Saturday, and while cold, damp weather kept some at home, those who went were pretty much all smiles. That goes for the spectators and parade participants. They followed the same format as their July 4th parade, show up on time decorated for the event and have fun.

Next up is Mocksville, set for 2 p.m. this Saturday. The weather forecast calls for seasonably cool weather, and a chance of rain. Even if it is wet, I’ll bet things will be just like Cooleemee, smiles on both sides. Mocksville is a bit more structured, as entrants must register. There are also judges who present awards, so it’s a bit more important to know who is participating.

The next Saturday, Dec. 8, Advance gets in on the action at 10 a.m. Expect more smiles, plenty of smiles. Linda Carter got the parade ball rolling there, and it was meant to be – and is – a lot of fun. Go see for yourself. The fire department has taken over that parade but it’s still fun. It is a bit too early to predict weather for that one, but it’s early December in Davie County. Expect to wear short sleeves and short pants – or bundle up for wind and bitter cold. Either one could happen. But do expect fun. They’ve had county commissioners as pooper scoopers. They’ve had a school board member ride in the parade asking for candy rather than throwing it to the spectators. Yes, fun.

Davie’s three parades are different – and all worth attending.

Mocksville is next. It usually has great participation from Little League football teams, who ride on the beds of trailers smiling and waving. Along the way, there are parents and grandparents stretching their necks to see their little loved one in the parade. It’s hard to tell who is the most proud. Church entries remind us of why we celebrate Christmas. Businesses go all out with decorations and entries. Who can forget Chuckie Clement riding his high tricycle on the streets, smiling from ear to ear?

Advance’s parade is a little less structured with the entries, as many try to have fun. A former publisher of the Enterprise Record was picked to be the grand marshal one year. He was promised a limosine for his ride. When he got there, a donkey was waiting. A good sport, he “rode” the donkey the entire route. And who can forget Bo Potts up front on his homemade tricycle?

Thinking about parades, I’ve seen quite a few in my time. While the ones for Christmas are great, especially for candy, others are quite the spectacle.

My first job out of college was in Benson, home of Mule Days. If you’ve never been to a Mule Days parade, make an effort to do so. I’ve never seen the end of this parade, even after attending for four years. On top of the always fun Shrine entries, college and high school bands, and more country and western floats that you can shake a stick at, the Mule Days parade may be the one that never ends. At the end, they let anyone riding on a horse to be a part. When you’ve got thousands of cowboys in town for the weekend, that’s a lot of horses, a line that never ends. Forget getting a car on Main Street soon after that parade. People on horses even make the fast-food drive-through lines busy.

Another favorite parade was the Azalea Festival parade in Wilmington, which must have a budget that could run a small country. We went a couple of years ago, and it was the most new, shiny Corvette convertibles I’ve ever seen in one place. There was one for every Shrimp Festival queen – Little Miss, Miss, Pre-Teen, Teen, Miss, etc. They kept coming. The military is recognized in a big way, as well, with officials riding in those Corvettes. And I was impressed with the Wilmington Police Department’s entries. They have a mounted squad, a water squad, four-wheel squad, aerial squad, a bagpipe squad and probably more if my memory was better. It’s another one that’s worth attending, but take a chair. After two hours on that one, we called it quits, although the parade still stretched as far as the eye can see.

Yes, everybody loves a parade.

Forget that other saying, “Don’t rain on my parade.”

– Mike Barnhardt