As my little 2 year old helped me hang the stockings a few nights ago I realized that this is actually Ellie’s 3rd Christmas, but we have yet to take her to a Christmas parade. We didn’t even consider taking her to one for her 1st Christmas. Ellie was barely 2 months old and 5 weeks preemie at that. I was very careful about leaving the house with her and taking her out into the cold until well after the New Year. Last year we wanted to take her to one of the local parades, but most of them were postponed by rain, and we were busy on the dates they were rescheduled.
As this is the big parade week in our area I decided I would make a point to take her out to one of the 5 local parades going on this weekend. Ben didn’t get home early enough from work yesterday to go to the Walhalla parade, so we decided to go to the Salem parade today. It’s a smaller parade, but I actually prefer it. There aren’t as many people there, and it’s closer to home. Even still it’s a very small town with limited places to park if you don’t want to walk a mile, so we got there about 45 minutes early. The local church parking lot was already full as was most of the street parking. I knew the Dollar General parking lot is blocked off a few minutes before the parade starts since the entrance drops out into the parade route, so we parked there and did some shopping while we waited. A few minutes before the parade began we headed out to the street and Ellie got comfortable on a large rock near the street to wait.
The weather was beautiful today, so we didn’t have to worry about bundling up to fight the cold. We all ended up shedding our jackets shortly after the parade began. Now it’s been quite a few years since I actually got to attend the parade, so I admit I had completely forgotten that we needed to take a bag for candy. Honestly I think kids score more candy from the parade than they do on Halloween! We were near the end of the parade route, so there weren’t a lot of other kids around us. Thanks to all the little old ladies around us Ellie filled my pockets and the hood of her jacket full of candy. When we made it back to the car we emptied all the candy into one of our Dollar General bags and filled it practically full. It was so cute seeing 4 little Grandma type women taking Ellie under their wings and showing her how to run for the candy. Of course I kept her near the sidewalk, and they were rushing out to pickup what was landing near the floats. One woman in particular asked if she could watch the parade with us because she was there alone to watch her husband ride his horse in the parade, and she didn’t have any grandbabies to enjoy it with. I think she had more fun gathering the candy that was unsafe for Ellie to run after than Ellie did! Ellie was honestly more interested in eating the candy than picking it up.
Even though it was a small town parade I was a bit disappointed in the floats this year. There are usually quite a few floats, but I guess since all the towns decided to have their parades in the same weekend Salem’s parade wasn’t top priority. There were numerous fire trucks and such, but only a handful of floats. The best float out there was from the Cub Scouts, and I thought it was cute that they did a camping scene.
Ellie got a kick out of the Shriners float and their “bwoons” aka balloon people.
I was surprised that she got very excited about the Subway car. She kept asking if we could go to eat “sanichs”. Even the Christmas parade was a marketing scheme that paid off!
Ben was in charge of the camera while I was busy preventing Ellie from running into the road and picking up candy with her, and he ended up missing most of the stuff I wish I had pictures of. The Santa was great this year, but he didn’t get a picture of him. *frowns* Being that this is a very small southern town there were plenty of four wheelers and horses in the parade, and the funny thing was there were so many horses Santa had to go before them! I really wanted a photo of all of the horses coming around the corner so you could see how many there really were, but I’ll have to settle for this one that Ben took of about half the group.
There were about 15 more in front of that group and another 15-20 that you can’t make out in the back of the photo. It was definitely the most horses I’ve ever seen in the parade, but we do live in the middle of redneck farmville (and I wouldn’t change it for the world) where the parade is the excuse to show off your horse (and for the teenage cowboys to show off for the girls). Ellie got a kick out of all of them, and as she watched them she kept saying “me ride! me ride! me pony!” I guess she really wanted to be out there with them on one of “her” ponies (my sister’s 2 mini horses that live in the pasture at our house.) Honestly I admit I miss my days of riding in the parade. I never got a chance to ride my own horse (I had a pony, and the family horse was too easily spooked), but there plenty of parades in my teen years where I rode with a friend or boyfriend.
So like I said it was a small affair this year, but we still had a lot of fun. It was great family time, and I loved watching Ellie’s face light up as she waved and said bye bye to all the classic cars as they drove by, ran around picking up candy, and got all excited at the sight of the fire trucks. No matter how big or small the parade will be next year I can’t wait to enjoy it with her again.