Providing some thoughts on the 2014 Great Falls Independence Day Parade
Attending the Independence Day Parade in Great Falls, I came away with a few thoughts.
Firstly, the campaign season just started and I’m already ready for it to be ending.
At the parade, you had all these political types trying to connect with the people, surrounded by hundreds of supporters who are drinking the delusional kool-aid. Because, let’s be honest. The track record of many of these candidates have doesn’t exactly scream “the people’s choice.”
But OK, this isn’t meant to be a political site. I’m not going to go on about how I agree or disagree with any of the politicians who were in the parade. They have a right to spread their message just as much as anyone else does.
I just find it annoying, though, that they feel the need to use a parade to indoctrinate the public, and I even wonder how effective it even is.
You get your name out there in front of lots of people, yes, but that’s about it. You don’t get to talk to anyone, you don’t get to spread your plan for the election, you don’t have time to talk with really anyone who’s watching the parade.
Which is why I find it annoying when I see politicians in the parade. I think sometimes they know that people aren’t going to have time to argue with them, so they can appear like anything. They can use that one to two seconds to look like they’re salt-of-the-earth regular Joes who are just like you.
Only, they’re not. Not even close.
But, I digress.
Parades, to me, should have a lot of music, a lot of theatrics, some floats, water and candy, a lot of children, and little else.
I had a friend I saw at the Black Eagle BBQ, which for my money is one of the best organized events in town, who told me she wished she could be the parade organizer, to breathe some new life into it.
Now, I know the people who organize the Great Falls parade have been doing it for a long time. I appreciate their knowledge and experience in what it takes to put on a good parade. It’s not easy.
But, maybe the parade could use a little revamping.
Instead of allowing politicians to fill the parade with their propaganda (either the Republicans or Democrats, it doesn’t matter which party you belong to, you’re essentially trying to sell your propaganda) maybe look to the theaters and museums around town to help create interesting things to look at.
Now, you might be saying to yourself if you missed the parade, “wow, this parade must have just been awful, filled with politicians.”
And, that’s not true.
There were some interesting, fun floats. I particularly enjoyed the canoe float with large ice cream decorations, the Great Falls community band, the Great Falls High marching band, the NDM Productions Wizard of Oz float with the dressed up characters, (Shout out to Ali and Zach, way to go with the costumes!) and the fire departments, because I love me some fire trucks. Always have, always will.
Also, I loved the folks who were spraying water on the crowd. God bless their hearts for helping us cool off when it started to get super hot! Thank you sprinkler companies for being in the parade. Same goes with the bagpipers. Great to see them in the parade, and it’d feel like there was something missing if they weren’t there.
But, there seemed to be a consensus among myself and my friends that the parade this year was a bit too long and a bit, well, boring.
Other’s might disagree, so I’m not saying our opinions are the consensus for Great Falls, but, I do think that I have friends who are intelligent and are a good measure for knowing what makes for excellent entertainment.
There could’ve been more people in costumes doing interesting things. The Lewis and Clark re-enactments were great. The gunshots were fun, if a bit jarring, but in a good way. We could maybe have some more of that.
I know there are several theater companies in town who would love the free advertising. But, even if they’re not able to provide people in costume, it doesn’t take much to create something interesting. A trailer truck, a few people with reason to dress up silly, and boom, there ya go, you’re set.
Also, I think a great way to spice up a parade is, as I said, dancing and music. I’d love to see more bands, and honestly, what local band would want to pass up the chance to get their name out there with free exposure?
Perhaps organizers could reach out to some area bands and ask them if they’d like to play a few sets at the parade. There are tons in the community, and if they needed help next year, I’d gladly offer my connections in finding a few to play, too.
Also, it seemed like this year’s parade was lacking in animals, too. I think people love seeing horses and puppies and kittens and any other kinds of animals. Even if you can’t get the Clydesdales every year, I realize they are likely difficult to pin down this time of year, there are other organizations who could bring some horses, too.
And, again this isn’t a criticism against the people who organize the parade. They did a good job, and if they didn’t do it, likely no one else would have. I appreciate their efforts.
Think of this as friendly suggestions for how to improve upon it next year from someone who cares about our entertainment options in the area.
And, with that in mind, perhaps, once and for all, the organizers of the Black Eagle parade and the Great Falls parade could figure out how to schedule both of them at different times. Mostly, so a person could logically go to both of them if they so desired. It’d help everyone if we could all put our pride aside and figure out a good day and/or time for both parades to happen without having to happen at the same time.
Lastly, we can never get better if no one is willing to point out ways to improve.
And that’s my aim. If you have any suggestions about how to improve the parade for next year, please leave a comment or two! 🙂