The best parade in this part of the country – maybe in Ohio – maybe in the entire country: that’s the Northside 4th of July parade.
Northside residents and folk from everywhere around start lining up on a couple of miles of Hamilton Avenue very early. If there’s no shade, they’ll put up tents, pull out the dining room chairs, fill the coolers, bring out the snacks. Every front porch is filled, and most of the curbside. And they don’t just watch – they are really into the parade – shouting, singing, clapping for each of the floats, marching bands, politicians, and general wackiness that goes by.
In the meantime, up at the top of the hill, those who will be the parade are gathering. Some lucky participants make the Recreation shuttle, so they don’t need to find a way back up later. The giant peace dove (or maybe sea gull) is being created by the International Justice and Peace Committee. The synchronized lawn chair dancers and marchers are rehearsing, the Pullan Avenue Ping Pong Posse is getting into costume, and grabbing its paddles.
The walking typewriter from Ink Tank is trying to get itself organized. The guys in kilts are back – Marching for Freedom says the sign on one side – on the other: Down with Pants.
It’s a City Council election year – so I’m wearing my son Brian’s bright blue shirt and marching with the Brian Garry Brigade. We are the most diverse group to be found: young, old, male, female, black, white, differently abled, all in the same blue shirt. Great fun passing out candy, stickers. fans and business cards. We have a bucket brigade playing so hard their buckets are shredded by the time we’re down the hill. And I have, as always, gotten a lot of hugs from friends, and had a great time telling people that I’d appreciate their vote this year for my son.
A parade that truly expresses the spirit of a great neighborhood. Whoo! Hoo!