Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The Hyde Park parade is my favorite parade that I’ve ever seen. It is surprisingly long, by virtue of allowing anyone who wants to march in it, and is the kind of parade that has infinitely more participants than watchers. First there are a couple of City of Chicago cop cars with their lights on, emitting little siren bursts, and then fire trucks, with intermittant long wails. Next a set of bagpipers and drummers wearing kilts, a Brownie troop, someone (a man) dressed as the Statue of Liberty, a Revolutionary War hero wearing a tricorn, sneakers, and flourescent socks, Betsy Ross, my friend Celia, a little kid on a trike trailing balloons, an alderman’s staff in matching tshirts, a high school band with majorettes and cheerleaders. Then a whole flotilla of kids and adults on bikes decorated lavishly with red white and blue streamers and balloons, two little girls with braids on pogo sticks, a guy on a skateboard with a kazoo. There are banners from local schools, clubs, churches, the community theater, the bank, the grocery stores. There are people with homemade signs, with dogs, with kids in red wagons, people gossiping as they walk and people leaving the line of march to hug people they know on the sidewalk. There’s another high school band, in yellow t-shirts this time instead of red, their majorettes in black not white, with flag girls instead of cheerleaders. There is a clot of girls from a dance studio in pink fringe, a surprisingly good six man band, their tuba decorated with tiny American flags, a group of cheerful women protesting gun violence, the kids from the martial arts studio in their white pajamas. Big kids skitter through the marchers. A little boy in a wagon has a stuffed dog as big as he is with him. There’s two moose mascots from Kilwin’s, the ice cream store, lumbering in their giant blowup costumes. A trolley bus playing loud patriotic music rather scratchily through its speakers is for the Chamber of Commerce. A truck garishly decorated with huge tissue paper rosettes advertises the Hyde Park Garden Fair, but there is no banner for the woman who, holding her dog, waves from the back of a boat towed on a trailer (are we supposed to know her?). Bringing up the rear is a group of equestrians in cowboy hats singing the National Anthem (not badly) and waving flags. Close on their heels is an impatient number six bus and that’s the end.