Wicked Wednesday: Marching in Parades

Edith here, with the second of five Wednesdays in March. Today let’s talk about our youthful experiences marching in parades. Were you in marching band in high school, either with an instrument or as part of the pep squad? How about with your Scout troop or sports team? If you never marched in a parade, did you sit on the curb and watch? Do you like to take in the Macy’s or Rose Parades on television as an adult? Dish! Bonus points for a picture or two of you marching.

Liz: I’ve never been a big parade marcher. The one and only time I did – under duress – was when I worked for a chamber of commerce and we had to march in some holiday parade in the freezing cold. Luckily my coworker brought us shots of brandy… That said, I did love watching Mardi Gras parades when I used to visit New Orleans often. I’d much rather watch than participate!

Edith: I marched in my town’s Camellia Parade from my Brownie years through junior high in Girl Scouts, and then in my high school’s drill team.


I loved putting on the uniform and lining up. (Can you spot me in the front row? Third from right…) As an adult, despite being a pacifist Quaker, I still love watching small town parades with bands marching with military precision, goofy Little League teams in their uniforms, and decorated floats. At Bouchercon in New Orleans last October I had a ball walking in the Second Line parade down a wide boulevard despite the rain – and the the music was definitely not militaristic. I even got a photo with Sara Paretsky at the end!

Jessie: My village holds a Fourth of July parade every year that marches right past my house. It is a small parade with a very short route. In fact, the route is so short the marchers go around twice! Charming!

Barb: The most recent parade I went to was for the opening of the Kelly McGillis Classic International Women’s Flag Football Association Tournament. (Wow, that’s a mouthful.) Our friend, author Lucy Burdette was a speaker, along with distance swimmer Diana Nyad. When it came time for the parade, Diana got to ride in the convertible, but Lucy marched behind a sign that said, “Lucy Burdette, Famous Author,” which we, her entourage, found hilarious for some reason. But Lucy was ever the good sport.

Sherry: I love the picture of Lucy! The only time I’ve been in a parade was during college. My sorority made a float with a fraternity. It was a big purple (school color) camera made out of tissue paper stuck in chicken wire. If anyone ever asks you to do that run! A friend and I rode on the float pushing down a button pretending we were taking pictures. It was fun. I have always loved marching bands.

Readers: How do you feel about parades? Love watching them or hate they way they clog up your town’s streets? Have you marched in a parade as an adult or a child? Tell us your story!




29 Thoughts

  1. I’ve only “marched” in one parade, dressed in colonial attire and walking with my husband and his muzzle-loading rifle organization in a Fourth of July parade. I have, however, ridden in a number of them on horseback. Once with my 4H club, bareback on my pinto pony (I was dressed like an Indian) and a few times years later with my riding club, on my beloved old mare Jenny. Except she hated, hated, HATED the drums of the marching bands. So much so that she once reared up (I was standing next to her) and came down ON MY FOOT. I still mounted up and rode in the parade without further incident, but once I took my boot off, my foot ballooned. After that, I still participated with my riding club, but I took over the pooper scooper duty, following the horses with a shovel and broom! That was actually the most fun ever because of the cheers we always got from the crowd.

    1. That must have HURT, Annette! You reminded me, though, that I also walked in a parade in a 1718 costume (that I hand sewed, thank you very much) to represent the age of my house in Ipswich – the parade was to celebrate the town’s 350th anniversary (or somewhere in that ball park). It was a lot of fun.

      1. Edith, it did hurt. Even more so after I took the boot off and SAW it. I had to wear my husband’s sneaker on that foot for several weeks because my own shoes wouldn’t fit.

  2. Marched as a Girl Scout, as a high school student, and as an adult with Girl Scouts and I dislike parades! I will watch only a small town 4th of July parade.

  3. Never marched in a single parade, nope, not me. I did attend a few, though. My former town of Swarthmore always had a Memorial Day parade (ending up with cleaning a local cemetery a mile or two away), which featured kids with decorated bicycles and one Stanley Steamer that belonged to someone in town. In my current town there’s a Fourth of July parade which usually includes Brownies, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, political candidates, and a lot of antique tractors, as well as just about anybody who’s willing to walk the distance. It’s fun.

    1. The West Newbury Memorial Day parade was (still is) like that, too, Sheila. Sometimes even the riding lawnmowers got in on the act! I have memorialized all of it (and given four good friends cameo roles) in Local Foods mystery #5 – out in May!

  4. I was always in parades as a kid with my Girl Scout troops;. These days, I’m an observer. The Boy does the Memorial Day parade in our town with Boy Scouts every year (my favorite was the year he carried the American flag all the way up a very steep hill – he was only 10 or so and the flag pole was twice as tall as he was). I like watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and the Rose Bowl parade, but my family thinks it’s stupid so I never get the chance to watch. 🙁

    1. I grew up a mile from one of the Rose Parade float-building sites, and we’d often go over there on New Year’s Eve and watch them putting final touches on the floats. In high school we’d wait until 2 in the morning and watch them drive the floats up the wide boulevard through my town on their way to Pasadena (two towns north). You should elbow out the fam and just watch if you like them!

      1. One of my father’s favorite stories was about helping decorate a Rose Parade float in the early 1930s. Even back then, everything had to be of plant origin.

  5. I wasn’t in marching band but I did belong to Girl Scouts. We did participate in several parades. I also participated with my children’s 4-H group and were in a couple of parades with them. Now I love to watch the Macy Day parade and also the Rose parade on the television.

  6. For many years I was chairperson of the local Christmas parade in a very small town. I coordinated the whole thing and also helped decorate the Business Group’s float, but I never participated in the parade itself. Except for the year the Christmas tree on the float fell over. I jumped out of the golf cart I was riding following the float, jumped up on the back of the flatbed tow truck, upended the tree and became the “tree stand” for the rest of the parade. A whole new line to add to my resume. Minor disasters make great war stories.

  7. Parades are a lot of work as an organizer or leader of a group in the parade but I enjoy them!

  8. I’ve never marched in a parade. I’ve never even had a chance to march in a parade. And I usually try to avoid the parades at Disneyland, too. I find them annoying since they make it so hard to get from one side of the park to another.

    However, I love watching the Rose Parade on TV each year. I even went in person once several years back. I think I prefer watching it on TV, but I wanted to see it in person at least once.

    1. I went to the Rose Parade with two friends, Mark, when I was a senior in high school (Temple City in the San Gabriel Valley). A friend of ours was the first Japanese-American princess in the court, so we wanted to go see her. It was really fun.

  9. I’ve done lots of marching in my life. In high school I marched with my high school band. I didn’t have any musical training, but when I found out that they had an opening for a cymbal player, I quickly joined. I didn’t need much skill, and I even had a few key solos. At my recent 50th high school reunion, when I was asked what was my happiest high school memory, I immediately responded, “Playing in the band.”

    As a Navy veteran, I marched all the time. In fact, I even joined the drill team and became quite skilled at marching. Sometimes when I take a walk, I pull my shoulders back, get in stance, and walk like I’m on parade. It’s amazing what it does for my posture. I walk smoothly and for longer distances than I normally would.

    Take a walk and imagine yourself on parade.

  10. High School Marching Band! All four years, so we did lots of parades in all kind of weather. Then as a mom, I marched with my sons’ Cub Scout Pack, and their Boy Scout Troop, and their HS Marching Band (band parent volunteer). Then came the grandkids… Yup, I’ve marched in lots of parades.

  11. I strolled with the other ukes in the Chester Gras parade on February 25.

  12. I was in a baton group when I was in school and every year we would march in The Tulip Time parade in Holland MI. Thankfully it takes place in May and the weather isn’t too hot. It was fun at the time, but I don’t really enjoy watching parades now.

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