Tomorrow is one of my favorite downtown events of the whole year — the Oakland Holiday Parade.
They claim that 100,000 people come to Oakland to watch the parade, which…I mean, I guess I don’t know. But I go every year, and I’ve seen the crowd, and that doesn’t seem likely to me. Even so, it’s broadcast on PBS TV stations all through the United States, and even though it’s not, like, CNN or something, it is nice to see Oakland be portrayed positively in the media nationwide.
Anyway, I think the parade is just so charming. I usually don’t know about half of the cartoon characters they feature, but they’ve always got some good classics as well. The floats are always really fun to look at, and of course it’s great to see school marching bands from all over the Bay Area getting to show off.
I think my favorite part of the parade, though, is before the structured, fancy parade starts. They have all these random groups who don’t have floats or anything, but they just kind of walk down the street doing something cool. Or sometimes not doing anything cool, just looking really happy. One of my favorites last year was the Oakland Parks & Rec contingent. Among other things, they had some seriously impressive double dutch demonstrations.
I remember watching them and wondering why Parks & Rec got to be part of the parade, but the library didn’t. I resolved to myself that I would make sure the library was part of next year’s parade. But alas, now it is next year and not only is the library not part of the parade (as far as I know, that is. Who knows, maybe I’ll great a great surprise tomorrow), but I never even remembered to ask anyone why we weren’t. Next year, though!
Anyway, the parade starts at 2 PM tomorrow and if you haven’t been before, it really is a fun thing to do. It always makes me really happy to see so many families out enjoying downtown Oakland. It’s a good idea to get there early if you want a good seat, though.
Below are some of my photos from parades in other years.