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Tony Grist

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No More Processions [Aug. 18th, 2012|07:20 pm]
Tony Grist
The Oldham Carnival used to feature a procession of floats and marching bands which wound through the town centre and passed by the end of our street (where I would sometimes stand to wave and cheer) on its way to Alexandra Park. It isn't happening this year and apparently didn't happen last year either. (Shame on me for not noticing!)  In its place there will be a mini-parade of dance troupes inside the Park- which doesn't sound nearly as much fun.  According to the carnival website the reasons for this change are (a) flatbed trucks (to put floats on) are becoming hard to get hold of and (b) they're nasty polluting things anyway. 

The town's November 5th Bonfire and Firework Display was discontinued several years ago.  Now the Carnival Procession has gone too. These big, old-fashioned expressions of civic pride and togetherness did us good, I think. I wonder what we're going to replace them with.  
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2012-08-18 06:48 pm (UTC)
Corpus Christi plays! On hand-hauled pageant wagons!

Fortunately for us in Philly, spectacles are a major tourism draw, so we're sure to continue to have ours. In fact, we've added Friday fireworks displays all through the month of August.

Edited at 2012-08-18 06:48 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-08-18 08:17 pm (UTC)
That's good.

Our "spectacles" appealed to nobody but us- the people of the town- which could be one reason why they've disappeared.
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[User Picture]From: akirlu
2012-08-18 08:05 pm (UTC)
I think fans of big, old-fashioned expressions of civic pride need to just find new-fashioned ways to express them. You don't need flatbed trucks to have wonderful parades, even with floats. For instance the annual Fremont Summer Solstice Parade comes off quite well, with floats participating, despite its long-standing "no motorized vehicles" rule, while the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade generally incorporates a mixture of machine and human powered floats and vehicles, but typically no flatbeds. The possibilities are, I suspect, limited only to the energy and creativity of those putting on the parade.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-08-18 08:22 pm (UTC)
Wow! Those parades are something else.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2012-08-18 09:48 pm (UTC)
And we have one here, too, albeit a little less edgy. Perhaps you saw it while you were holding the fort in Kingsessing:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummers_Parade
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-08-19 09:34 am (UTC)
Fabulous. I love it that Philadelphia is still in touch with its 16th century roots.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2012-08-20 02:14 am (UTC)
17th century roots in terms of Europeans settling along the west bank of the Delaware, but I get your drift.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2012-08-19 09:14 am (UTC)
We had a similar carnival procession in my small town when I was young. Originally the lorries were provided by the brewery, the local big employer - at which time I made my debut as a player of an Alpine horn (music from around the world), the two of clubs (an Alice tableau) and a snowman (winter wonderland) - aged 5-7. It was a huge event through to about 1990, then the woman who'd been its driving force died, and it dwindled to nothing - oddly enough at the same time that the town was doubling in size. It's recently been revived in a less ambitious form, but is no longer an unmissable part of anyone's calendar, which I think a great pity.

Near where I live now, however, the November carnival at Bridgwater is well worth seeing - though I wouldn't want to have to pay the 'leccy.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-08-19 09:41 am (UTC)
Traditions bloom and die.

Across the Pennines in Marsden- back in the 90s- someone decided it would be fun to hold an Imbolc festival. There'd never been anything like it before, but it caught on and is now a yearly fixture. I went one year and it was terrific- with a torchlight procession, dancing foxes and a battle between Jack Frost and the Green Man. You'd swear (if you didn't know better) that it had its roots in the mists of antiquity.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2012-08-19 11:43 am (UTC)
That sounds fun! I've tried using the salutation "May all your ewes lactate!" around the 1st of February, but so far it hasn't caught on.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2012-08-19 10:35 am (UTC)
When our children were small, our little town had a carnival, but the burden of organising it kept falling on the same few people and they eventually grew weary of doing it so it faded away.
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[User Picture]From: steepholm
2012-08-19 11:41 am (UTC)
It happens - and we miss them when they're gone...
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[User Picture]From: mokie
2012-08-26 07:29 am (UTC)
The celebrations evolve. In a few years, someone will come along jazzed up to do something big, and start a trend all over again.

In my city, some businessmen after the Civil War wanted to revive the agricultural fairs that had gone out of style. They planned a sort of Midwestern Mardi Gras, and for a century the associated parade, debutante ball and fair waffled between being an elitist show and becoming an event that belonged to the whole city. In the end, the city won--the ball may still be about politicians and businessmen showing off for the cameras, but a general unifying civic pride has replaced old rich farts in floats.
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