As I strolled through the marshalling area in the arena complex parking lot, I had a chance to see the huge variety of participation in this year’s parade. From the miniature horses (my favourite) to the Calgary Stampede’s giant float that makes everyone look bad, the area was buzzing with excitement. As the ribbons were handed out, screams would erupt from the winning floats, and not just from the kids.
Some were parade veterans, but others, like the Capitol Theatre crew, were about to enjoy their first time having an entry. Complete with bags of popcorn, theatre seats on the tailgate, and giant water guns, their truck was awesome. Sorry to any of you who met their match at the hands of Brandt Seibel and his Transformers water gun.
Rather than stroll along the parade route walking through excrement and spooking horses, I took the undercover route, riding in Darcy Schmidt’s beautiful new truck (thanks Mr. Schmidt) with Jonah and Virginia Harvey, and the East Ponoka 4-H Beef float. I discovered watching parade spectators is almost more fun than watching the parade itself. Seeing the age range from five months to 95 years, both having a good time, was a real warm and fuzzy moment. I also love that no matter who you are, if you’re in the parade, people will wave at you. I like to wave back like the queen. Our float was in front of the miniature horses, so we got to watch the faces of the kids light up as they noticed the tiny chuckwagon trotting up. The screams of “Tiny ponies!” were deafening.
The turnout was awesome, the streets were packed, and this year’s parade seemed especially long. Our speedometer never went above zero the entire time. I was certainly glad to be in air-conditioned comfort, scribbling in my notebook and waving at Jeff as he scurried about getting great shots of the contestants. Whole families relaxing in their lawn chairs and enjoying the morning — it’s great to see. I loved it, and I hope you all enjoyed your day just as much.