Parade Day – alarm set for 4:30 am; on the bus at 5:45; bus departed at 6:00; in a traffic jam at 6:30; at our bleacher seats at 7:00; parade started at 8 a.m. Our $95 seats were 1 block down from the tv cameras so you couldn’t see us on tv – but I’m sure you could hear me squeal!
Temps were near freezing, everything frosty and some people looked and walked like the “Michelin Man”. We were encouraged to dress in layers and many were in multiple layers! It was chilly enough for our down coats, scarfs, gloves, seat cushions and a lap blanket.
The 5 1/2 mile parade consisted of 41 floats (including opening and closing shows), 21 marching bands, 18 equestrian groups, 5 decorated vintage cars carrying parade dignitaries and officials and 1 B-2 Spirit fly-over! Chuck had the camera and I had the i-pad so we have hundreds of duplicate photos and videos of all the marching bands! OMG – which photos to share – they are all so spectacular!
The parade ended at 10:00 am and then the spectacle really begins! Protestors, religious fanatics, animal rights groups, political fanatics, anyone with a cause – interspersed with police, SWAT teams and emergency vehicles – all follow the last float down the street carrying their placards and yelling and cheering! You don’t see that on tv!
Two blocks back to our bus and this was definitely when we were glad that someone else was doing the driving. It was “a sea of humanity” – cars, chartered buses, city buses, free shuttles to the football game, a million people – jockeying to get out and go nowhere fast.
We finally got back to the rally site at 11:30, lunch was ready in the tent and back on the buses at 12:30 to ride to the post parade float viewing of the “Showcase of Floats”. These masterpieces are all parked on the boulevard for close up viewing and photo taking. You really get to check out the unique and creative materials used to decorate these floats.
It was a little anti-climactic and sad to see them just parked there – so still and quiet. The floats are way more magical in the parade with the music, people smiling and waving, mechanical parts moving, special effects and everyone yelling ‘Happy New Year”.
There were a couple of $200 football tickets for sale but we opted to watch the game on the big screen in the rally tent. Chuck was rooting for Florida State – but after having just come from Oregon I was a new “duck” fan!
What a great parade – no other will ever compare! What a great day!