Parade notes

When I saw a silver Osprey-like plane fly over Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at quarter to 10 Saturday morning, I thought, This holiday parade will be like no other. And in one sense, it wasn’t: There were no visible politicians in it. They may have been there: A few sedan-style cars drove by with people in them, but no signs read, “Mayor on Board” or “Council Members Enclosed.”

The weather was perfect for a winter solstice parade – cold enough to wear reindeer-antler earmuffs and have an excuse for hot chocolate at Krispy Kreme, but warm enough to not mind the wait from police cars and the first marching band to Santa’s float and the street sweepers.

Almost everyone in the parade gave out candy, cookies or coupons for donuts to almost everyone who was not. The Latin Club seemed to be eating as much candy as it was distributing, and Pediatric Dentistry had no treats to give out but beautiful smiles. Experienced parade-goers brought shopping bags or held out open backpacks. One dad explained to his boys, “It’s like trick-or-treating, only you don’t have to go anywhere.” When they Orange Fire and Rescue crew rode by just ahead of Santa, I half expected them to give out insulin.

With kids jumping on and off moving trucks and in and out of moving vans, enthusiastic marchers flinging hard candy into the crowd, a hot-air balloon engine shooting open flames high into the air (fortunately not too near the traffic light wires at intersections) and a double bus slaloming down the street, the parade had plenty of hazards that Penny Rich could craft ordinances against. But the closest instances of injuries I saw came from a toddler, seat-belted into his stroller, straining so hard to reach candy on the street that he fell forward onto all fours, still strapped in, and a much older man who squatted down to get some candy and needed the help of a woman he didn’t know to get back up again. Another woman, witnessing this, gave the man a handful of the candy she’d collected.

Afterward, I shopped my way down Franklin Street and ran into Roy Williams at Chapel Hill Sports Wear’s new digs. He was browsing the Nike Team Shop, perhaps picking up some souvenir jerseys before the game that night.
– Nancy Oates

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