Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that we have a family tradition of entering (and winning) the Yukon’s Freedom Fest kids parade. Since 2006, we’ve won first place in one of three categories (most patriotic, most creative, best overall) each year.
A brief recap of our previous entries:
That brings us to 2012.
Having won first place in every category (a couple, twice), we settled on an alternate goal this year. This year’s plan was to decorate our golf cart and drive it through the parade. Our secret agenda was to then use the golf cart to cruise around Freedom Fest. Sometimes dad’s hips bother him and he can’t walk all the way around the car show. With a golf cart, he’d be able to see the whole thing this year!
Tuesday night, Susan began by taping a bunch of streamers, ribbons, and plastic sheets to the golf cart. About halfway through the project, I reminded Susan that on the 4th, the cart would have to be transported 15-20 miles via trailer and that there’s no way any of her decorations would survive the trip. She agreed, and decided to save the rest of her decorations for the following morning.
Wednesday morning we loaded the golf cart up on to dad’s trailer and hauled it across town. When we got to dad’s house, it looked like this:
Actually in that picture it doesn’t look too bad, but trust me — half of what Susan had affixed to the cart had either blown off or shredded by the wind. We agreed to fix and finish decorating the cart once we got it to the community center, our next destination.
Next we drove to the community center, taking two cars. We actually had no idea how everything would work out and were unsure I would be able to get my big truck with my big trailer into the normal parking lot. If I couldn’t, we were going to have to find a place to unload the cart, get someone to guard the cart, park the truck somewhere, shuffle people around, and park the van. If I *could* get the trailer in the close parking lot, there were still some parking and shuffling that would have to take place.
To pull off what we needed to pull off, we went early. Although the parade starts at 11am, we arrived just after 9:30am. In the end we were able to unload right in front of the parade route, but a certain amount of shuffling still took place. With the truck and the van at the parade route, we unloaded the golf cart. We left dad and the kids to watch the cart, and moved the truck and trailer across the street. I hopped out of the truck, got in to the van, and rode with Susan back to the parade route, where Susan parked the van.
Although we were entering the parade, I had already warned the kids not to get their hopes up about winning the parade. They understood. This year was not about making an award winning float. It was about getting the golf cart there.
For the next hour, we waited and waited. For at least 30 minutes, nobody else showed up. And because of where we were waiting (a small spot of shade between the parade route and the parking lot), we became the unofficial information booth. Over a dozen people asked us questions. Most were in regards to the parade route, but others asked about where the band was playing, what time events were taking place, and one even asked if it was okay to park where he was parked.
Which reminds me, where it was parked, the golf cart now looked like this:
Eventually we lined up for the parade, and we all noticed a much lower turnout than we had seen in the past. There are four categories, I think: 4 and under, 5-8, 9-12, and “group”, and I don’t think there were sixteen kids in the parade. Although I again warned the kids not to get their hope up, looking around, I saw that there were only three people entered in the group category.
Yup. We won 3rd place. Man, even when we don’t TRY, we’re winners! (O’Doyle Rules!)
Once the parade ended, Susan took the kids off to play on some of the bounce toys (and later swim) while dad and I began the second part of operation golf cart. With the cart still decorated, we began cruising the grounds. First stop was the BMX stunt show. Last year it was so hot that we only watched for a few minutes. This year, while sitting on a comfortable golf cart in the shade, we watched the whole thing!
From there, we headed up to the car show. As planned, we walked a little, and drove a little. Nobody said a word.
A couple of times, we saw other people cruising around on golf carts as well. Completely undecorated golf carts. It has since occurred to me that golf carts might be legal to drive around the grounds and that we weren’t actually being sneaky at all. If that’s the case, oh well. :) Either way, we had an enjoyable time at this year’s Freedom Fest, although I can tell you that after the parade I already had ideas brewing for next year’s float. Next year, we’ll be back in full force.
I hope everybody had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July!