new experience #32: attend the oktoberfest parade, live

wow and wow.

that’s all there is to say about the weather this thanksgiving weekend. simply spectacular!

the view from the condo casa window yesterday morning - the trees in the park are primo right now

i had been on the fence about whether or not i wanted to go to the oktoberfest parade yesterday morning. but when i considered the weather, i realized it could be another 20 years before it would be sunny, warm, clear, wonderful on a thanksgiving monday morning. cuz who wants to stand in rain and wind to watch a parade? not i! so, i decided this was the year. [have to say, the thought that i could include the parade as a new experience was a deciding factor].

picture-perfect morning!

i am a parade fan. every year, dadster and i sit down to watch the rose bowl parade together on new year’s day. i sincerely know of no one else who enjoys parade viewing except for us! i don’t know how you cannot enjoy bands, floats, happy people clapping your hands?!

when i was little, we sometimes went to the santa claus parade. i have a very clear memory of being three years old, and standing with dad outside the mutual life building. the last time i saw the santa parade live and in-person was when an ex-bf and i took little cousins kate and joel to see it. the only thing i remember about that outing was that it was so cold we ended up putting mittens on kate’s feet to help warm her up!

so why have i never gone to the oktoberfest parade? well, growing up, our family was not at all into oktoberfest. back in the 70′s, this bavarian festival was little more than a drunken slosh-fest. we stayed far away. in the ensuing years, the organizers have made oktoberfest increasingly family-friendly. [may i remind you that our oktoberfest is the biggest in north america!].

in the seven years that the condo casa has been home, i’ve never gone to the parade, which is kind of silly since the route is literally three minutes from home. no driving, no parking hassles, it couldn’t get easier. plus, it starts at 8:30 a.m. – perfect for this early bird!

i left home at 8:25 a.m. the parade begins at the corner of king & erb streets – right by the store! i decided to find a spot just past willis way, very near the start.

great sightline! the route was already packed with people on lawnchairs, on blankets...and tons of him horton's coffees and donuts in hand!

i took a shitload ton of photos during the parade. since chances are that you are not a parade fan, i’ve heavily edited my pics, and will share just enough (hopefully) to give you a taste of the fun. [fyi - this parade was also broadcast on ctv - it's quite a big deal as far as parades go].

and so it begins!...

i appreciated how they had a sign like that one, above, before each float or marching band, to let you know the name of the entry.

marching bands are my favourite - i like the formality of attire, the precision of the stepping, and the upbeat musical 4/4 time!

inflatable onkel hans, the oktoberfest mascot!

[i always think of our friend, brian when i see onkel hans - he used to take on an annual gig of dressing up as onkel hans for public appearances during oktoberfest. we teased him a lot about this since he wasn't really the ho ho ho, jolly type!].

there’s a contest for the best float – in keeping with the times, you can vote by texting the number that appears on the float.

loved the autumn leaves on this one!

i expected more clowns – guess i was thinking of the santa claus parade…

colourful!

…not that i mind a lack of clowns – i was scared as a child, and have not been a fan ever since.

the parade route is about 5-6 km long. imagine carrying this…

tuba!

or this…

string bass

…for that long! i give them credit.

there were local dignitaries:

miss oktoberfest

the mayor of kitchener (i only include him because i went to high school with his daughter - she was a year ahead of me) plus he is of menno background!

in keeping with my photo montages from the jazz and busker festivals…

buddy, can you spare a photo for my blog???

horses were a bit hit with all the kids:

happily, didn't see or smell any plop-plops!

regal!

each of the local german clubs was represented…

one of the most established of the clubs

…and participants were decked out in traditional garb:

not sure if this is a true dirndl???

the parade was well thought out with a float then a band then some horses then an inflatable etc.

inflatable!

band!

funny man!

i hadn’t decided if i’d commit to staying to the end or not. but 1.5 hours in, i pretty much had experienced enough…as had many around me. kids were growing whiny, parents impatient (time for more coffee, no doubt). i thought it good timing to leave after this inflatable:

representing the kitchener rangers - yahoo! reminder - i need to get to a game this season!

…and less than five minutes later, i was back at home. i’m really glad i went to the parade – it made thanksgiving monday feel like a true holiday. the overall vibe i walked away with was a real sense of community: seeing the oodles of spectators who came out, the local people on the floats, everyone there for a common purpose and just enjoying the day. it was a good, good new experience.

parades: fan or not? if so, what do you most enjoy seeing? you can be sure i’m jazzed about watching the rose bowl parade again on january 1st!

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Comments

  • Dorry  On October 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    That’s really fun! Billy and I went to our 4th of July parade this past summer and we had a blast. It reminded me of being a kid. :) Glad y’all had such lovely weather, and Happy belated Thanksgiving! xo

    • 1970kikiproject  On October 12, 2011 at 5:41 am

      thanks, dorry! at least the weather would be warm for 4th of july,,,although maybe TOO hot, in texas!!

  • Zo  On October 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I can’t say I’m a big parade person. I remember walking around in Dublin once and making a turn and discovering myself in the middle of a parade with a huge Gulliver balloon. I also remember being excited by the local memorial day parade when I was a kid too…

    • 1970kikiproject  On October 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      dublin! that would be cool just for the locale! i do agree that parades are much more exciting when you’re a kid…and probably more fun for adults if you’re WITH kids!

  • The Orchard  On October 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I am not a huge fan of parades – I kind of feel like you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all! However, my kids love them and so we try to go for their sakes. We missed the parade this year because we were camping instead. The kids didn’t seem to mind missing it on account of camping!

    Interesting you took a photo of that lion. Did you ever hear about that lion float being on the Ellen Degeneres show?

    Cheers,
    Tricia

    • 1970kikiproject  On October 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      i was wondering if i would see you and your family at the parade, tricia! wow – you had a perfect weekend for camping! glad you got that time away! no – i didn’t hear about the lion! i have heard about the campaign to get ellen to our oktoberfest, though!

  • janetha  On October 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I typically don’t love parades, but this one looked pretty rad!

    • 1970kikiproject  On October 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      as an oktoberfest parade, i think beer samples would have been in order, no? at 8:30 a.m., sure! why not?!! and root beer for the kidlets!

  • Lisa  On October 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I do like parades…and once even went to the Rose Bowl Parade! That was back in, hmmmm, 1992.

    Local small parades are not really my thing—they amount to a bunch of fire trucks and a couple floats…but I like the big ones! Glad you had the good weather to encourage you to go!

    • 1970kikiproject  On October 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      the rose bowl, live?!?! wow!! that is very neat-o! yes, i hear you on the community parades…a lot of the small towns around here do a santa claus parade and you are so right: fire trucks and a tractor pulling a “float” -> that, i am not so keen on (unless they were to let me RIDE on a float…that’s another story!).

  • Johanna B  On October 11, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Love the parade photos. I’m a fan, too.

    Remember where is grew up – Mardi Gras! I lived 5 blocks off the main parade route so every year was an adventure. Put a visit to New Orleans at Mardi Gras on your bucket list. Everyone should experience it once.

    • 1970kikiproject  On October 11, 2011 at 10:30 am

      oh wow, a mardi gras parade in new orleans…that would be very hard to top. i would love to see the costumes – bet they’re spectacular! so cool that you lived so close!

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