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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Fine Day For A Parade

October 28, 2018


Scott and Wendy

A Fine Day For A Parade

The Fantasy Fest Parade which has since the beginning been held as one of the culminating events of the week on the final Saturday night had always been the biggest, most attended and most anticipated event of the week. Over 70,000 people would pack downtown and line the parade route which ran from the waterfront park in Truman Annex up Southard Street to Whitehead then left down to Front before turning up and heading down the length of Duval Street. 



Greta, Tom, Caitlin, Effie and Cale

Sadly in recent years the quality and excitement that the parade had previously displayed was much diminished, the total number of floats and parade entries dropped from close to 100 down to just over 30. While there were always a few really excellent entries, many were just rented flatbeds full of gyrating people throwing beads and not much else.


Cale and Caitlin 

Things got so bad that the Chamber of Commerce had to step in to offer large cash prizes to entice the creative folks to get back in the game. That helped some, but the turnaround really began in earnest last year with the new creative team in charge of Fantasy Fest really stepping up the game including creating their own magnificent float to lead off the parade. Last year was way better and this year pretty much knocked it out of the park and returned the parade to its former glory once again.



Erin and Bria

As I have in the years since we helped build a float, I was once again on hand in the marshaling area in Truman Annex prior to the parade’s commencement. It is always one of my favorite times as the excitement and anticipation reach a fevered pitch as last minute costume and float adjustments are made and everyone is looking their best.



I love wondering around photographing my friends and others as they prepare to depart. The lighting is usually quite excellent and most everybody is in a buoyant mood. There were an obvious number of truly excellent entries and the competition was going to be fierce to win the coveted prizes. More importantly everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time. From the excellent group of volunteers to parade organizer, Beth Moyes who did an outstanding job organizing everything.



Hef and Kathy

Kathy and I watched the entire parade pass at the very beginning of the parade route as it turned on to Southard Street and started its journey. This allowed her to be able to bike down to near the conclusion where she joined our friends on the judging stand just past Truman on Duval Street. She had an excellent perch on the raised platform to watch the parade. I actually joined in the parade and followed along in the parade until reaching the media viewing area, which is located on Duval in front of the LaConcha Hotel.



Matt and Deb

The media area has large lights that illuminate the entire street to help in the TV broadcast and every parade entry is paused briefly to be able to be captured by the assembled TV and camera folks assembled there. It is a fun, if somewhat chaotic scene and I effort to make sure that I do not get in the way of any of the media people there, while still trying to get a few decent photos myself.


The parade route was as crowded as I have seen it in ages, where there had been barren spots along Whitehead Street in recent years was this year three or four people deep and along lower Duval the masses were as packed as ever with many places ten or more people deep and throngs on every balcony and viewing area trying to catch a good view of the floats and catch a few beads in the process.


There were a number of truly awesome entries, beginning with the lead float designed by the crew at Wonderdog Studios and packed with friends in a Circus like theme that was truly inspiring. It was a great way to lead off the festivities and was once again a fantastic start to the parade. Over fifty entries followed and while it may not yet be back at the numbers we have seen in the past, the quality of the efforts more than made up for it.



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