I Used to Love Parades

Three days ago I wrote, “I Love a Parade.” After enduring last night’s Lunar New Year parade, I must modify my original generalization.

On the positive side, the parade was well organized, the floats were colorful and well-done, and the marching units were varied and well rehearsed. It was all done very professionally. On the negative side, the crowds were almost unbearable, the parade started a half-hour late, the authorities blocked off large portions of the parade route from spectators increasing the crowding and lastly the parade route was too short also increasing the crowding.

Did I mention the crowding?

We got there early and found a spot where we could see the parade easily but late-comers kept pushing and shoving to get to the barrier we were standing behind. I finally lost my cool and started yelling and pushing back. I know I’m in a Chinese city and the behaviors are different but the crush could have been alleviated by opening up the closed areas to viewing and lengthening the parade route to spread the crowd.

I’ve been to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, which attracts well over 1,000,000 people, a number of times and have always found a somewhat comfortable viewing spot by arriving early and situating myself towards the end of the parade route. Since the parade route is over 5 miles long, the crowds thin out towards the end.

Next year, I will buy a seat in the staging area and avoid all the hassle. I still love a parade. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky.