I love parades. Always have. I think the first parades I remember are probably the ones down Main Street at Disneyland. My parents loved them too — so much so that they would often make them obligatory when ever we visited the Magic Kingdom, which was often. Of course that’s back when you could visit often, without needing to take out a second mortgage on your house to be able to afford it. Growing up in Southern California there weren’t a ton of parades, other than the Rose Parade of course, and the aforementioned trips to Disneyland. I went to the Rose Parade a couple times and hated it. Too many people and I remember it being hard to see anything. Much better coverage on Channel Five. Plus, there was Bob Eubanks and Stephane Edwards – SoCal parade icons by most people’s account. Today I went to the Labor Day Parade in Kensington, Maryland. It’s only the second parade I’ve been to since moving to the East Coast a year ago — the first was the Fourth of July parade in Takoma Park. Small town parades are terrific. Sure the floats aren’t as elaborate and the bands aren’t as big or polished — though one of the high school bands in Kensington was playing “Buddy Holly” by Weezer, which was pretty cool. Still, there’s a charm to small town parades that you don’t often see in the more lavish affairs. I got to shake the hands of a few local politicians and even overheard bits and pieces of conversations about who was or wasn’t doing their job. The sense of community is palpable and people — both spectators and participants — are just happy to be there. And isn’t that what parades should be all about?