I flew home to Portland last week-end to see my dear friends march in a parade. Sarah’s the CEO of FSCC (the shared branching network) by day. By night, she has dreams. Dreams of bringing the Lacamas Shores umbrella drill team to the Rose Festival Starlight Parade.

It began with a film. Sarah hosts an annual Film Festival at her home in Camas, Washington. Robert Barzler’s entry, chronicling his journey as drill captain of the Yachats, Oregon umbrella drill team, peaked the town’s interest. Robert is the CEO of Point West Credit Union

They contacted Robert and began to practice. “When I sent out the email inviting people to our first rehearsal,” says Sarah, “I figured we’d get three or four, but 15 showed up! Lacamas Shores people are great sports!”

In July of last year they took first place in the Camas Days parade. (see page 7)

On Saturday, their dream came true – to march in the Starlight Parade. 250,000 people turned out on a gloriously warm evening.

It got me thinking about parades. Why do we have them? How did they get started? When did someone say, hey, let’s all get together, dress up and walk (or sail) down the way and wave at people?

I don’t care. I just love a parade.

It celebrates community and gives people a chance to be recognized for their efforts. One of my favorites “floats” was the Oregon Greyhound Rescue. It was simply a flatbed truck decorated like a living room with people sitting on sofas, greyhounds snuggled up next to them. Very sweet. Definitely raised awareness in such a real and unexpected way.

A funeral procession is a type of parade when you think about it. But it only has one entry. One float as it were. Instead of that dreary scene, we should have a parade that honors the life of that person. A marching band comes out and plays your favorite song. Your kids and grandkids are the grand marshals and get to sit in the convertible and wave to the friends that have gathered. All the things you loved and brought joy to would come next. So many people would like you to contribute to a charity in lieu of flowers – why not put that cause on a float? The hospice care folks (who are angels on earth) the American Cancer Society, you get the idea. 

IMG_0324Parades are celebrations of life.

Who would march in your parade?