Dragon*Con has a parade that weaves through Atlanta Saturday morning, around 10:00. I’ve never actually made it to the parade, due to a combination of sleeping in after staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 and the amount of time it takes me to get into costume in the morning. This year I have decided to march in the parade with the Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire group while wearing my Melisandre costume (makeup and wig test-run pictures sometime later this week!) I figure if I signed up to actually be in the parade then there would be no avoiding it. This is Dragon*Con’s 25th anniversary and it is also the 10th anniversary of the parade, so I’m glad to have the opportunity to march. I need to also note that I have never been in a parade, so there’s a first time for everything!
In honor of my marching in the Dragon*Con parade, here is a run down from some parades in my past.
When I was 8 or 9 I went to one of the many circus parades in Sarasota. Sarasota started as a circus town and it used to be the winter home of the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus. I do not know if this was an official Ringling Brothers parade or just one of the many in-town circuses having a parade (circus people breeding = many circuses!), but I do remember having a enjoyable time until the elephants joined the parade. Elephants are majestic, awe-inspiring creatures until one takes a shit right in front of your parade-viewing spot. I’d say that three or four elephants decided to void themselves right in front of my parade-viewing spot, making the rest of the parade an olfactory adventure.
My sister was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2003 with the Camp Broadway group. They did a tribute number to Bob Hope, who had died after the number was written so the lyrics required a hasty adjustment to the past tense. All the kids had golf clubs and they were accompanied by some USO girls on a float.
Do you have any idea how many pictures you can find if you Google “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2003”? Wowzers.
Anyways, I think my sister enjoyed her parade experience. I did not accompany her on her journey because I had to go to something called classes at a place called college, alas. Evidently the kids all had many rehearsals and my sister being my sister she managed to get a deathly cold along the parade route. Oh, also, at one point the kids decided to rehearse their routine before reaching the performance space in Herald Square and one girl got her tooth knocked out with a golf club. No, not my sister. I remember seeing my sister during the performance on television for something like two seconds, but there were several hundred kids doing the routine so they cut around a lot. That was the Thanksgiving I invited my clinically insane (literally, bipolar, off her meds) freshman roommate Meredith home with me. We went to see Elf with a bunch of my high school friends and Meredith spent half the movie crying from rage. This was also the Thanksgiving where I went to, and ate at, four different houses. Never again, y’all. Never again.
I attended one or two Homecoming Parades at the University of Florida. At UF they call Homecoming Gator Growl, just FYI. I’d like to say that exciting things happened at these parades, but they didn’t really. For me, the most exciting occurrence was this Gator wearing a tallis.
I was lucky enough to go to Mardi Gras twice. TWICE! One of my good friends was in the architecture program at Tulane and so I had a spot of floor on which to pass out at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. My first Mardi Gras was in 2005 right before Katrina and I had a wondrous time and got tons of beads. I was in the French District for the Endymion Parade and the parade stalled at one point. Two men–Georgia residents I learned–on the float stalled in front of my group took a liking to me. Or they took a living to the view of my cleavage down my low cut sweater via their float vantage point. Anyways. Their float sat in front of us for a good forty-minutes and they didn’t throw beads or loot to anyone except for me. I got so many beads. I got full bags of beads. I started giving stuff to the people around me because a) they were getting annoyed and b) I didn’t know what to do with all these beads! I got novelty necklaces, I got a pair of Endymion panties, I got a stuffed flamingo. I tried to beg a harlequin Mardi Gras doll for my friend KT but the men wouldn’t give it to me unless I showed them my titties or whatever which, no y’all, I’m not that kind of girl. Eventually the float moved on and bead democracy was restored.
My second Mardi Gras was in 2007, and the city was still recovering from Katrina. The celebration certainly had a more subdued tone, if you could call Mardi Gras subdued. I attended with two of my girlfriends from college and we had a really grand time. I warned them about bead lust, the overwhelming desire for cheap plastic necklaces that will overtake you without warning at Mardi Gras, but I’m not quite sure they understood me until they experienced it. Bead lust is real, y’all. I even jumped a barrier at one point to get some loot. The cops were not that happy, but luckily I can run quickly. Bitches.
So those are my notable parade memories. If I had to rank it in terms of fun I’d say Mardi Gras 2007, Mardi Gras 2005 (I was of legal drinking age in 2007 so, you know, that made things a bit easier/more fun), watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2003, Gator Growl, and Elephant Poo. I think that sounds about right.
And worry not, you’ll get a full run down of the Dragon*Con parade and my experiences! I assure you it will be epic.