The City Should Throw a Parade for Children at the End of Every August
I was writing and doing laundry, and it was hot out anyway. So instead of walking the four and a half blocks from my place to Broad Street to watch the parade Philadelphia was throwing for the Taney Dragons, I watched on TV.
NBC 10 — or, rather, NBC 10 news staffers on COZI-TV, a Comcast-owned station that generally shows decades-old syndicated programming — had almost a dozen people covering Wednesday’s parade for the Taney Dragons. Maybe it was more. There was even helicopter coverage.
There wasn’t much to the parade, which went from 20th and Market, down Broad Street to a rally at FDR Park: The Taney team was in an “Under the Sea” themed-float for no discernible reason except that the city already had an “Under the Sea”-themed float. The Philly Pops played when the parade stopped at the Kimmel Center; the Mummers did the same at Washington Avenue. It was a “rolling parade,” one where streets were only closed during the short time floats moved through an intersection.
As you could expect, the NBC crew didn’t have that much to cover — especially once the parade moved out of Center City and into South Philly. So they turned to prepackaged features and man-on-the-street interviews with Taney supporters. NBC reporters interviewed relatives of Taney players, kids who played for Taney at other levels, parents affiliated with the organization in some way and strangers. The common theme: Everyone was so happy! Everyone had positive things to say about the kids and the city and life in general.
Everything about the day was so enjoyable: The Little League players being honored at the Phillies game. Mayor Nutter acting as excited as if he’d met his favorite French cyclist. The smiles on the faces of the kids who really couldn’t have imagined at the start of the year that the city would be throwing a parade in their honor. The often-funny complaints of people on Twitter who didn’t think these kids deserved a parade. The mayor apparently trying to get into every photo of the team. All of it was pretty entertaining, especially on a slow day in the last week of August.
When we were watching the parade, I jokingly suggested to a friend the city ought to throw a parade for children at the end of every August. (Yes, a friend eventually came over and we watched the end of the parade. Shut up.) “Yeah, Philadelphia doesn’t really have many holidays,” she said. I objected. We have New Year’s, I thought. But that’s about it — and while our New Year’s celebrations are certainly unique, every place has New Year’s. Our Independence Day celebration is more of a national thing; it’s about pop stars and cursing and looking backwards into history. What about something that celebrates Philadelphia today?
So, uh, we should do it: A parade for the city’s children at the end of every August. It didn’t tie up traffic that much — a lot of people were out of town — and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Even the people who didn’t like the parade had fun complaining, I bet. The city spends money on worse things, like seizing the property of people who haven’t been convicted of any crime! I don’t care which group of children the city honors — a successful baseball team, a group of honor students, just some kids picked at random, whatever — I just think we should honor some kids every year.
We close off Broad Street for rich people to dress in white and bring their own tables, chairs and food. We close off Broad Street for drunk people with parasols! Surely this is no less silly. I don’t want us to be nicer to each other or stop complaining about the city or anything else that people like to pretend would boost morale in the city. I just think it’d give us something fun to do every year the last week of August. The idea’s already paying dividends: I got a column out of it!
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