Hap strolled towards the corner of 4th and Hennepin. It was a warm,
almost hot, and muggy July evening. The streets were crowded. Everyone
loves a parade and Hap and the residents of the Twin Cities of St
Paul and Minneapolis were no exception. The residents come with
strollers, blankets, food, and all members of the family, including
pets. The streets start filling right after the work day to assure that
they have a good curbside location
to watch events, picnic, chat and relax in the summer warmth.
The Minneapolis Aquatennial
is a summer festival that has a long
history and features activities utilizing the cities numerous lakes.
Boat races but with the boats made from milk cartons. Sailing Regattas
and water activities including a water show. In past years they have had major powerboat
races, water ballet, volleyball, Frisbee golf, and synchronized swimming. Now they are working more
with the suburbs and have varied activities, even an air show. The
Grande Day Parade has always been on the first Saturday of the 10 day
event. There is also a Torchlight Parade on a week night that is
larger, more colorful with the lighting on the floats, hyperactive
clowns and marching units, and attracts a very exuberant crowd.
The Aquatennial beauty pageant invites all
winners of the statewide pageants to bring their royalty and enter the
parade. And like every parade, the politicians show up to work the crowd.
The 10 day run of festivities has the
Wednesday evening parade called the "Torchlight". It has over a hundred
units and starts right after the 5k run which comes through the route
first. The public service vehicles lead the parade in the customary
US style with sirens blaring. Bands, flags, horse patrol and motorcycles
all attract and hold the spectators attention.
As the evening turned into the darkness
of a summer night Hap watched the lights along Hennepin wink on. The
lights on the illuminated floats now provided a different perspective.
Babies dozed lulled by the constant background of laughter, voices, music
Sometimes the crowd spills into the
streets and the ice cream vendors, the kids on blankets, and the marching
bands blended into a mass shuffling for position. The queens
rode their floats and waved their arms off.
dignitaries, some from sister cities around the world, rode in convertibles
and experienced the US phenomena of the community parade. Japan is usually
well represented and has a long tradition of support for the Minneapolis
Sunday, 22 August 2010