I watched the Prairie Fest parade on Father’s Day. It’s really cool when a parade has a theme and everyone kind of makes floats and displays that match. That’s not how they do things in Oswego. A bunch of clubs just show up to show themselves off. The following are the groups that for whatever reason stand out (aka I’m going to make fun light of them).

1. The Shriners

You’ve seen these old guys in their funny little hats driving funny little cars. I remember seeing them when I was a kid, and after witnessing them again last Sunday I realized I had absolutely no clue what the Shriners are or do!

Their real (and full) name is The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Yikes. These old guys flitting about your parade represent a network of 22 non-profit hospitals that treat children. I never KNEW that. But c’mon guys. What’s with the cars?!

like a boss

After a solid 1 minute of web research the only thing I can figure is they ride those tiny vehicles to gain additional attention for themselves. That and because they all have short legs (but that website might have been kidding). I like to think that nothing says “I care about kids” than a bunch of wrinkly old men who don’t seem to have grown up themselves. In any case, the amount of attention they garner from the tiny cars and weird hats seems to overshadow the public knowledge of what they heck they even do…that is, if my knowledge=public knowledge.

Hey, speaking of old people in dumb hats…

2. The Scarlet Foxes (The Red Hat Society)

If you’ve ever seen a group of old ladies donning a hideous combination of purple ‘outfits’ with boisterous red hats, then you’ve seen the Scarlet Foxes. Now, the word ‘fox’ has historically been used to describe a woman of particular beauty and either they know that and are simply being ironic or they are trying to make a statement about inner beauty (or the beauty of age?). I’m going to go with the latter because any semblance of outer beauty is conveniently obscured by their fashion crime costume choice. In a parade you can hardly criticize people for wearing clothing that is loud and proud. That’s what parades are for. But these women wear their outfits at every single gathering which I’m guessing is dining out at Baker’s Square or Cracker Barrel or any place where grits is an automatic side.

More about the Red Hat Society:

The Silvery Red Hat Society’s primary purpose is social interaction among women, and to encourage fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment, and fitness. The goal is for members to bond as they travel through life together. The Society is not a sorority or a voluntary service club. There are no initiations or fundraising projects.

High on life! (and Geritol)

AKA: They are just a social club for old ladies. They are a women-only ‘pirates who don’t do anything’ club that is a shocking 70,000 members strong. If any woman under the age of 50 wants to join (btw, lol @ that) they have to wear a pink hat and endure the ridicule of being called such names as “Pink Hatter,” (burn!) until they hit the big 5-0. It may or may not be a good club or social group, but it certainly doesn’t do much to dispel public (read: my) opinion that old women are batty and out of touch.

3. The Junior Optimist Club.

The what and the what? I’d never even heardof an optimist club which is crazy since the organization has over 100,000 members spread across 35 nations and even has a headquarters in St. Louis, MO (which is equally amazing since most things out of STL are weaksauce). I guess the optimist club organizes the community’s youth into service projects to better the lives of youth or the community in general. It all sounds suspiciously similar to a church only without all the Jesus stuff.

I barely need a reason to post this pic

Now, The Oswego Junior Optimist Club (in the parade) was only 2 people carrying a banner that said, “Oswego Junior Optimist Club.” I hear that they are hopeful for more participation next year. HAHAHA GET IT?! BECAUSE THEY ARE OPTIMISTIC?!?!

4. The Taekwondo class.

I’ve got nothing against the martial arts. I think they can teach a lot of good stuff about self-defense, respect, and discipline. It just seems a little out of place marching along in a parade. Let me explain:

Tae (strike with foot), kwon (strike with fist), do (art or method) can be roughly translated “The art of foot and fist” (if you like theatrical), or “The method of kicking and punching” (if you like practical), or “The art of beating up people” (if you like realistic) or “How to break a wafer thin piece of wood” (if you like parades!)!

You see where I’m going here right? It seems like such a cool personal discipline but when presented to the masses it is boiled down to petty acts of vandalism against innocent pieces of wood that have done nothing to deserve it. It’s not even that cool. I bet 110% of the guys watching the parade see a kid break a piece of wood and think, “I can do that.”

Or think of it this way. Think of a cool kung fu movie where there’s a huge class of students all wearing the same exact pajamas (Gi or dobok or something like that) performing what seems like a complicated series of choreographed karate chops and kicks and screaming “HI-YA!” in unison. That’s not just Hollywood stuff. That’s a real thing. Those intricate and dance-like moves are called forms. They emphasize the proper way to stand, strike, and move. And here’s the kicker(pun!), EVERY student learns these as a part of their training.

china has better parades by a long shot

Again, I think martial arts are really great only I wish that they’d put on display something that has a little more depth than breaking sticks. It’s a fantastic art and if you had 30 people all doing the same form in the middle of the street during the parade it would be a unique site to behold. I guess there is some consolation in knowing that our communities are safe from any pine wood alien invasion.

5. The Youth Cheerleaders.

Oh boy, where to begin. I’m really okay with cheerleaders, so long as they are not some sort of club where the skinny, pretty girls get to practice their skills of condescension (but who am I kidding). The real problem is that in the parade the cheerleaders are cheering and cheering for absolutely nothing. The constant thorn in a cheer leading team’s side is that if there is no object of cheer, they render themselves irrelevant.

If there is no team or individual or school or organization functioning as the pride of the cheer leaders’ joyous cries, then what the heck are they doing there. Oh and if nobody is cheering back, I think attaching ‘leader’ onto ‘cheer’ is a bit of a stretch.

You COULD make a case for this if they were cheering the event (Prairie Fest) or perhaps the holiday (Father’s day) or just trying to get the crowd riled up for the parade but that’s not what was going on. These young girls were totally dialing in their performance – half-heartedly asking all in ear shot to “be aggressive…B-E-aggressive.” Look, who is supposed to be aggressive here? I think they are misunderstanding the spirit of a parade. The whole point is to NOT be aggressive. Any less aggressive and we’d be comatose.

Without an object of cheer and without the ability to rev up the crowd and without what would seem like a reasonably acceptable amount of clothes covering themselves, I think it’s safe to say the cheer leaders have a bit of work to do before next year.

...including some of the stunts.

5 thoughts on “These Parades are Crazy

  1. Hmm, I didn’t know that Red Hat Society was a real thing. They were just featured on the show Rules Of Engagement, where a dude thought he was going on a cruise with a bunch of hot young ladies, but it turned out to be this bunch of gals.

  2. oh my gosh — you are CRACKING me up!!!! I am with you 100% on the cheerleader thing — I actually was a cheerleader in jr. high, but despise the fact that parents put their young children in cheerleading — like for youth football leagues…..please!

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