Category:  Fun

The Parades Coming To Town

The announcement of a parade coming to town springs happiness and excitement in anyone’s heart. Parades bring nostalgia and excitement to all ages. Lined with marchers, floats, balloons, bands, and performances parades are bound to attract large masses of people every time. Typically, when a parade is scheduled it is for celebratory reasons. Parades have been associated for centuries with victories, remembrances, and observances.

The first parades were performed by Prussians centuries ago for military and political purposes. Kings and generals would assemble processions showcasing their accomplishments and influence. After a successful conquest, leaders would be led back into town by the town ruler, followed by those he defeated. Other times, a ruler would preceed his own men into town, with the streets lined with depictions of the great accomplishments made by the kingdom, reminding civilians of how great their rulers were and giving them the opportunity to be close to such powerful people.

The first modern parades were performed along canals. Floats got their name because originally they were decorated barges pulled by marchers onshore. After too many people drowned, parades were moved onto land. The first land parade was held in recognition of those who drowned in previous parades, with floats being pulled by horses. Today most floats are pulled by motorized vehicles.

Each parade has a grand marshal. This is someone chosen by the organizing committee which is in charge of leading the festivities. This person does not always have to be living. They are considered guests of honor. This year during the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington D.C., Carrie Ann Inaba, a judge from Dancing With the Stars, was the grand marshal.

Globally, there are thousands of parades held each year. In America, the biggest annual parades are the Mummers New Years Day Parade held in Philadelphia, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, the Rose Parade in Pasadena, the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston, and the Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. All of these parades are televised for the nation to see.

On a smaller scale, individual towns across the country hold annual parades. Most towns in the United States have some kind of Memorial Day parade. During Memorial Day parades, citizens honor those who lost their lives in the service of their country. Veterans bands will perform, men in uniform will march, and all parade goers wear red, white, and blue while waving their American flags proudly each time a serviceman walks by.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was the first parade to be held as a publicity venture. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in New York City in 1924. Animals from the Central Park Zoo were included in the lineup and Santa Claus closed out the parade as he has every year since.

The big balloons that are very popular during parades today were first used in 1927. Felix the Cat was the first character balloon to appear in a parade. At the conclusion of the parade, the balloons were released into the open sky. When found, citizens would look for the return address on them, and would receive a reward when delivered to the owners. This practice was later stopped.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has only continued to grow as it prepares for its 92nd anniversary. Last year, over 44 million people tuned in to see the televised event. 2015 offered a new Ronald McDonald balloon, a float sponsored by the National Hockey League, special guests including Mariah Carey and Shawn Mendes, with performances by the cast of Fiddler on the Roof, and much more.

The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade has been in existence four years longer than the one held in New York City. Ownership has transferred several times throughout the years; it is currently under the authority of Dunkin Donuts. The parade ends on the historic art museum steps made famous by the popular Rocky movie franchise.

Philadelphia and New York City are expected to begin announcing further details about this year’s parades in October.

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