Yes, that’s a “precision drill team” made up of environmentally friendly reel mowers you see in the picture. (See my update at the end of the post)
Welcome to the Takoma Park July 4th Parade.
Folks who live in the Washington area have a wide range of Independence Day festivities to choose from. You can have your fireworks on the National Mall, as far as I’m concerned. My favorite thing is to hop on the Metro, take a short ride to the next station, and then head into downtown Takoma Park, MD, for the annual 4th of July parade. We’ve done it for years, and it takes some major event to pull us away from this family tradition.
Takoma Park is known – to put it mildly – for its political activism and progressive outlook. For instance, it is the only “nuclear free zone” in the DC metropolitan area. Takoma Park also has a well-deserved reputation as being a bit quirky. Many of our friends from the pool and the twins’ schools live in the city, so we’re always looking to visit and support them.
Today Candice and I took up our traditional spot along a shady sidewalk on Maple Street to watch this year’s version of the parade. The teenagers doing jump rope tricks were a hit with young and old alike. The parade always features a couple of steel drum outfits, with their groupies jiving and dancing alongside the floats from where this wonderful Caribbean-influenced music pours forth.
This year brought some rich political activism, from “Declare Your Independence from Big Money in Politics” to a clever campaign to get the local school board to listen to the Young Activists at Piney Branch elementary school who have raised over $10,000 to buy and operate a dishwasher as part of a no styrofoam project. Children and parents passed out the styrofoam trays, which are now used once per child every day in the schools across Montgomery County and then sent to be incinerated. Slogans calling for the board of education to listen to the children, save money and “Speed up the Piney Branch Pilot Project” were written on the trays. We all let the board of education members know where we stood on environmental and fiscal waste as they came by in their cars.
It wouldn’t be Takoma Park without a bit of political theater. This year the “Ru Paul Tea Party” candidate for state senate brought out laughter and commentary alike. I’m not sure which Tea Party sign was the most humorous, the call for drilling local Sligo Creek, paving over the Chesapeake Bay, or the sign that called the float “Sarah Palin approved” and then added “The Founding Fathers were geniuses – They wouldn’t let ME vote!”
Luckily we haven’t lost our right of free speech (which we were reminded of by handouts of the Bill of Rights by the local VFW post). Enjoy the rest of the photos, and Happy 4th of July!
And, of course, there’s always the final clean-up.
More to come…
Update: A Washington Post photo essay today noted that The Scottish Reels (the name of the drill team at the top of the post) won first prize in the parade’s Wacky Tacky Takoma Award.