I once went there, but I got there too late and almost missed it all. Now-a-days, I watch it on TV, but a few things stood out.
I wrote about the parade last year. Nothing’s changed. I write about it often because driving into Philly to see the parade was once an important event in our family.
Do people pay for seats? Many times a truck was blocking the view of what seemed like the best seats in the house, in front of the Art Museum steps, but no one seemed upset, so I assume the seats were free.
The dress of the performers was often inappropriate for the chilly, blustery weather. Adult women in their 20s seemed most out-of-place with bare arms and frilly dresses. You could imagine them running off-stage into a heated bus as soon as their performance was over. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, wore jackets and were bulked up by thermal underwear. The younger girls dressed more appropriately, no doubt caving in to their mothers’ demands.
The important people clearly were the TV audience. Even the performers on the passing floats were turned toward the TV cameras, ignoring the bundled-up live viewers behind them. The best were from Disney World, looking like they wished they stayed in Florida.
They often interrupted the parade to give the results of a poll: Did we best like the marching bands, the floats, or the musical performances? My choice was not an option—the historical clips, especially those of Jim O’Brien. He was a popular Philadelphia weatherman who was killed in his prime in a skydiving accident. He really did “go there.” It was good to see the others, too. Some had moved on, others were still around, looking very young in the clips.
There was some confusion over whether this was the 100th Philadelphia parade, as celebrated, or only the 99th, but who cares? if you think it is the 100th, I won’t argue, even though you are wrong.