The Torchlight Parade

I love a parade. Yesterday, I talked about the Seafair Torchlight Run on 2006-07-29. The Parade follows the run.

Seafair has a nice pirate theme about it. The Seafair Pirates have been part of the celebration for decades. So they opened this parade, too.

And nothing says viscous, nasty, blood thirsty and vile pirates, quite like a flag made of balloons.

The parade features the normal Seattle parade regulars – The Red Hot Mommas pushing shopping carts, the various well uniformed high school marching bands, the slovenly clad college marching bands, the police precision motorcycle team, and the various drill teams.

There are generally two types of drill teams. Those that do something and those that don’t.

Ok, so they all actually do something. But some of them just sort of march down the street in matching uniforms and clap, stamp the ground, and swing their elbows in synch. And the crowd goes wild. Except with these groups, the crowd is setting the bar a bit low. These drill teams seem to come from underprivileged parts of the area. It seems people are often applauding them for just showing up and having kind of a routine down. The performances themselves do not strike me as all that impressive.

The other main group of drill teams usually has a prop of some sort. It may be a large flag or a fake rifle. Now these displays are visually impressive. They are sharp with complex routines. They put on a much better show but don’t get nearly the applause.

The various Asian communities in Seattle also host their own floats. There’s a huge Chinese dragon that’s controlled by about 15 people. They run and dance and top speed. Each block they swap dragon controllers with a bunch of folks they have following them. They run the whole route swapping dragon polls.

Seattle’s Filipino and Korean communities also put on amazing performances of dance, fighting demonstrations, and traditional costumes.

This year, Falun Dafa had a float. Falun Dafa is apparently an organization that practices Falun Gong. It’s either a system of exercise, or, if you believe the Chinese government, a cult that is destroying the world and needs to be wiped out.

Regardless, they have an impressive float. They drill with beautiful paper flowers. They have a group of people marching. They have a float with people doing the exercises. It all seems so peaceful and tightly disciplined. They are amazingly focused. The entire display is, well, kind of creepy. That’s no reason to ban a movement, but a chill did run up my spine.

One of my favorite groups, though, is Seattle’s LRFD, or Last Resort Fire Department. They bring out all the ancient firefighting vehicles from the twenties and thirties. The red has faded to brown, and the engines struggle to make it up the street. Overall design of vehicles hasn’t really changed that much.

While I know the name is a joke, I just like the idea that some day, all the Seattle Fire engines will be out on calls, and the call will go out to the LRFD.

Not a bad way to spend a few hours.

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