2014 Snake Saturday Parade-The Spirit Lives On
Bright and beautiful, it couldn't have been a more perfect morning for the Snake Parade in North Kansas City! A tradition for 30 years now. A real family event and I had never been. In fact, in my 54 years I honestly couldn't tell you when it was that I last attended a parade. Possibly in my teens. You could feel the spirit of excitement in the air. The crowd was growing and the anticipation of floats, marching bands, clowns, horses, and Shriners riding mini bikes was growing right along with it. Everything you could want in a parade was about to happen, right before my eyes. I was sure of it! This is one of the biggest St. Patrick's day celebrations in Kansas City! On a morning this perfect I'd already heard on the radio that over 100,000 people were expected to turn out for the parade! From the view I had of just a few blocks, I'm sure there were that many, if not more, stretched all around the surrounding blocks of North Kansas City.
From blocks away my husband heard them first and then, sure enough, so did I! The sirens! The parade had begun and several moments later the beginning of the parade passed by our corner. Kansas City's finest were leading the way! Police and Highway Patrol on motorcycles along with a NKCFD firetruck adorned with firefighters worthy of a calendar photo! ;)
Next came the first of some disappointments I wasn't expecting...Much different than the magical, parade memories of my childhood. The element of grandeur was certainly not there. I wasn't so inclined to photograph the two sullen looking, young girls carrying the Snake Saturday Parade banner. They appeared bored and tired after only a few blocks into the parade with no smiles, no waves to the crowd and no "parade attire" being worn. The same was to be said of two banner carriers who came shortly after. It dampened my excitement.
But, before I say more, here are some of things I enjoyed the most....
These wonderful Bagpipe players were a delightfully Irish part of the parade. I know there is a difference in the type of pipes played throughout Europe, and whether or not these are truly Irish I don't know, but they were amazing!
No parade would be complete without the presence of our American flag. My daddy was very proud of his service to our country during WWII and he instilled his pride and patriotism into me. I believe in what our flag stands for; Our freedom, and that freedom is never free. My husband and I fly the flag proudly at our own home, also. I know my dad would be proud to see that.
There were dogs in green tutus, bikers doing burnouts, proud smiling veterans, bicyclists in wigs, hats, argyle socks and skirts (that one in the middle :) that's not a kilt, it's a skirt, lolol) and local bands performing on flatbeds...these were the fun parts of the parade!
But my favorite part of the parade had to be just people watching! I especially loved watching the children. They were so excited. Waiting for the parade to start. Waiting for the candy to be thrown. Just the same way I remember being. Here are a few shots that are my favorites from the day....You just can't beat the excitement of little children. You could see it and feel it everywhere. Especially cute were some of the little red heads celebrating St. Patrick's Day at the Snake Parade!
Then... the parade was over....and there were no Shriners on mini bikes. No convertibles with local or state beauty queens. Does a truck pulling a trailer with "Toddlers in Tiaras" and their stage moms count? I vote no. I saw one "float" that actually qualified as a float in my book. The rest were trucks, trailers and cars. Some with minimal efforts at displaying a decorative sign and others with nothing at all. Kansas City's not small and I only recall four high school marching bands. The Marching Cobras performed but had such a small amount of performers participating it was disappointing, to say the least. I saw two clowns. Two. Now, not being a huge clown fan, I didn't really mind but clowns are generally a big part of the street fun at parades, right? In the absence of Shriners there was one, lone, little, funny car driver. Maybe he had his face painted. I don't remember. One small group of horseback riders came through and some children riding ponies. These, what I call "traditional" parade participants could've easily fit into a one block span or less. In a parade this size, there was room for so much more. I should add there were other events going on also. A BBQ competition, a carnival area with rides and food, and more. But, I was there for the parade. That's the part I'd been looking forward to.
So yes, I was somewhat disappointed but I do hope that my photos show you some of the fun being had! I now realize, even at 54, that I could get excited over the thought of a simple parade and also be let down because I was hanging on to expectations of what I thought it should be from my childhood memories. So, where were all those elements I spoke of and remember? Maybe it's economics? Maybe people just don't think it's important? The "extras" don't really matter? It takes too much time? It's just not a priority in today's world? I really don't know but I do know that ALL things change and some things will never be the same again. Would I go to the parade again? Sure, I would, now armed with less expectations. But, I will always have my memories of parades from my past. And the little children I photographed? They'll never know "they way it was" and therefore, they will never miss or long for what I have memories of. These will be their special memories that they hold dear. Now, I officially sound like my parents.
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