Juneau Fourth of July Parade on Thursday, July 4, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau Fourth of July Parade on Thursday, July 4, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: Stand up for our parade

  • Sunday, March 29, 2020 10:00am
  • Opinion

Recently my “techno gal” out of Anchorage who seems to have a finger on the pulse of news in Juneau shared that the people who organize our Fourth of July Parade announced it was canceled. No, no, no, no, no. That’s ridiculous. Of course,

the parade will be canceled, if necessary — but a Fourth of July parade can be canceled on July 3.

I’m just sayin’.

First, be grateful for all the people that step forward to organize events and gatherings. If it’s a well organized yard sale, I compliment folks. If I’ve attended a well organized event, I thank whoever’s in charge for “stepping up and being the lighting rod.” Conversely — SAT word — being validated is meaningful, people appreciate being thanked.

Successful events reflect a focused block of time invested in prep, planning and set-up. Out of respect for that time investment, always add a debrief following the event. A debrief is almost never done.

Event planners and volunteers are tired; they are so over it no matter what the celebration or “fun-draiser” was; Their faces hurt from smiling; they hurt from standing, and fetching; And, almost everyone has an advanced case of post-party let down combined with grumpy exhaustion with the human race, because the public can be outrageous-and-out-of-bounds-so-quick-you-can-say-I-should-have-seen-this-coming, be at peace no you couldn’t. So, have the debrief, file the information, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel next year, and let it go. But, consider dropping a few thank-you notes in the mail.

Treatment for PPLDGEHROOBQ: Time, and telling your stories of shocking behaviors, things cute kids said, hidden costs, and coincidental miracles — tell your stories until you’re tired of them.

Back to our Fourth of July parade: Whatever organizational powers-that-be that exist around this event, right now

every agencies’ thoughts and efforts are dedicated to our current community medical needs. I’m imagining two agencies very much involved with any parade would be the JPD —and it’s not like they don’t already have a lot on their plate 24/7 365. Many thanks to these men and women for doing so much and interacting with the community through a lot of programs. I’m imagining CBJ’s parade involvement stretches from permits to port-a-potties and cleanup after the parade every year! Thank you CBJ for the flowers in the barrels on the waterfront and all the myriad — spelling bee word — other details it takes to make Juneau livable. Sorry, this doesn’t let you off the hook for whatever Juneau’s “We the People” are on about next week.

We can all put on our “thinking caps” and start planning. Important point: A good event does not happen in a vacuum. How can we help, literally stand up for our parade?

Consider: The Fire department always has a clean fire engine at the ready to lead. It would be super to see a dog training class go by — costumes? tricks?! — a third-grade class with large cardboard numbers could do math on the run. Volunteers would be needed to be the minus sign, the plus and the equals.

Stroller parents could do a routine. A Native dance group in full regalia could perform, they’ve already been in rehearsal — this is a Celebration year. In other words any group that cares to show up and show out could be a presence in our parade. Like any other year.

Right now, elsewhere, there are “drive-by-everyone-stays-in-their-car” parades happening in communities.

Back to our Fourth of July Parade, Idea: At the very end of our parade 2020, we start and add on as we go a Conga Line (someone reach out to the Ripley’s people.)We would need music — SEAGLA DJ? Filipino Rhythms? — Uh-oh! Sounds like we need some organizing. Juneau Fourth of July Parade organizers please change your minds or pass the lightning rod to someone or a group.

For now, if you’re healthy stay home, if you’re sick, stay home, but let’s plan forward — family field trips, parades, celebrations, this year’s garden — too soon to start seeds?

Carol A. Kell is a Juneau resident, parent, substitute teacher and church volunteer. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.

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