Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fresh from Florida Parade

I woke up late on Saturday morning and realized I had to rush downtown to catch the parade formerly known as the Citrus Bowl Parade. I knew where the parade assembled since I had sketched the police horses the prior year. I parked north of Lake Eola and walked to Orange Avenue. I could hear the college bands playing as I approached. A lanky man walked up behind me and said, "Looks like you got the best seat for the parade." "Well it's the cheapest." I replied. He started complaining about how the parades name had changed. "They always have to fix things that aren't broke." He said. He broke off to head south.

I wanted to sketch the assembly area since folks would be standing still waiting for the parade to start, which makes sketching much easier. A Nebraska band stood in bright red and white uniforms. Majorettes practiced twirling their batons. It was a warm beautiful day. I'm sure they were glad to be removed from the cold Nebraska planes. Since I was late, I knew I wouldn't have enough time to sketch a whole band. I needed to find something bigger, bolder and less likely to march away.

I started to sketch people holding Macy's balloon styled "Power Ball" red orbs, but then the parade started to move. They walked away. I erased them and walked a block back to start the next sketch. Old cars caught my eye along with women on stilts. Who can resist sketching women dressed up as candy canes on stilts. They were on a side road waiting for their turn to get on the parade route. I soon realized these were all performers from Universal Studios.

Bands marched loudly by. Shriner's in mini automobile go-carts buzzed around in circles in the intersection. The police horses clomped through the intersection but they weren't in the parade this year. They must have just been there for crowd control. When the parade had past me, a street cleaner immediately got to work brushing it's way north up Orange Avenue. I realized I hadn't had breakfast. I ordered a hot dog from a vendor across from the Court House. Being in the staging area, I got to see the whole parade and I wasn't in a crowd that could block my view. As I walked back to my car I could see where the parade was ending. People had paid $23 to sit in bleachers and the intersection was mobbed with people. I wasn't tempted to shove my way in.

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