I love a parade…

July 3, 2019

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog today comes this – “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation; indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.”  (Churchill)

Jack went on to write – There are 10 National Holidays, but 4 stand out in my mind as days that especially define America: Independence Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, Memorial Day.  The others are significant, too, but think today about these 4, particularly the 4th of July, a day to celebrate the history of a great nation, not perfect, but in the process.  😉  Jack

Parades are a way to pause and celebrate holidays in your hometown and in our p5nation. I organize the 4th of July Parade in my home town of Milford, Michigan. I march, as a veteran, in the Memorial Day parade and I work as a volunteer in the Christmas Parade, which always takes place Thanksgiving weekend. We don’t have a parade for Veteran’s Day.  We also have parades for the start of Little League Baseball, and the local high school homecoming. Obviously, we love traditions in Milford.

Huron Valley Middle School BandThe parades that we have in Milford mean that Main Street is shut down for s few hours and a crowd gathers to watch. The biggest parade, by far is our Memorial Day parade, which draws a crowd of several thousand to watch and which has almost 1,000 vets marching.  The Christmas Parade features the arrival of Santa Claus to Milford for the Christmas Season. The Independence Day parade usually draws a big crowd to watch, too.

Sadly, the Independence Day Parade on the 4th of July has been declining in both attendance and participation for the last few years. What used to be a parade with 70-80 participating groups is now down to about 50 groups marching or riding in the parade. The viewing audience is also down a bit. It seems that the same reasons thatHistorical Society marchers in 2017 parade are causing the decline in church attendance effects the parade on the 4th – people are just too busy with other things to do.

Of course, the summer months are vacation months, so many families are traveling while school is out. Still, the fact that fewer local businesses and groups participate is troubling. We used to have 6-7 Boy and Girl Scout troops and Brownies and Cub Packs, but now only get 1-2. We had participation by many of the local churches, but now again only get 1 or 2. Many of the local service organizations used to march, now we are lucky if any participate. The excuses are always the same – “We couldn’t get enough people to be in the parade.”

What we are really saying is that we are too busy, too distracted or overwhelmed by Bridge to Unity floatlife to pause and take a moment to just enjoy a shared celebration of thankfulness for things like the birth of our nation or those who served our country. We have become so wrapped up in ME that we don’t have time to celebrate the things that make us WE. I am not sure whether this is an indicator of, or a cause of, the state of unrest, distrust and hatefulness across the nation that seems to be reflected in nightly news stories.

Still, there is hope. We are carrying on the traditions, like the Independence Day parade, in the hope that providing events that allows us to celebrate the great WE20160704_114059 events of the past will once again remind us that we have more in common than the differences that want to drive us apart. We stop to celebrate the events that were put in motion by those seeking the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is still a work in process, as Jack said; but it is worth pausing and having a parade.

Maybe I’ll see you at the Milford Independence Day parade. The parade starts at 11 PM. I’ll be announcing the participants as they march by. Pause for a moment and celebrate WE.


The Fourth of July Parade in Mayberry

July 4, 2017

Many people like to think of Milford, Michigan as a modern-day version of the fictional town of Mayberry that was the setting for the Andy Griffith Show Mayberry RFD. There are some seminaries. Milford is a small town in a somewhat rural setting. We have a basically a two block long downtown, with a light at each end (which Mayberry didn’t have). We have quaint little stores and a barber shop in the middle of the downtown. But there the similarities probably end. We have a vibrant set of restaurants within the downtown area, as well as three jewelry stores, an exercise place, a bridal boutique and a women’s store that is known state wide for its “social ware” (think weddings and special occasions requiring a gown and not just a dress).

But getting back to the Mayberry theme, we do have several parades a year, starting with the big Memorial Day Parade, which is one of the biggest and best in Southeastern Michigan for honoring our veterans, and then the Independence Day Parade, which was today and ending the year with the Christmas Parade, which takes place on Thanksgiving weekend. Interspersed before, after and in between are a bunch of minor parades – the Martin Luther King Parade in January, the Little League Parade down Main Street at the start of the baseball season, the Homecoming Parade for the local High School are three that come to mind. There are several other occasions that close down main street; an event that seems to average about one closure per month. That’s small-town America at its finest.

start of paradeSo today we had the Fourth of July Parade. Well over a thousand local people lined Main Street, many staking out their favorite spot by leaving blankets and/or chairs on the sidewalk on main street as early as the night before the parade. The parade didn’t start until 11 AM, but there were people out before 10 AM. Some came much earlier and had breakfast in one of our downtown restaurants before claiming their spot for the parade.  The local AmVets group walked up and down the parade route handing out small American flags, so that the kids and their parents had something patriotic to wave as the parade passed by them. An entrepreneur also walked up and down selling cotton candy to excited kids who awaited the start of the parade. How Mayberry-like is all of that?

The parade stepped off precisely at 11 Am with the Village Police Chief leading the parade. I can just imagine Sheriff Taylor doing the same in his police car in Mayberry. Then came the procession of walking groups, homemade floats, decorated vehicles and Rotary Duck Race kidsbicycles and the horses. This year we had the Huron-Kensington Metroparks 6-horse Clydesdale wagon in our parade, which is like the Budweiser Clydesdales that we see on TV coming to Mayberry. We also had horses from the Cowboy Church of Michigan and from the local Kensington Trail Riders organization.

Of course we also had politics in the parade, with many local politicians marching to remind their constituents to vote for them in the next election for whatever elected position for which they might be running. And this year, we had the pro- and anti-Trump groups, which is something in national and local politics that would have been out of Bridge to Unity floatplace in Mayberry and perhaps was a little too political even for a Milford parade. But we got through it without incident. We also had a fly-over with a single plane from the Tuskegee Air Museum making several passes over the parade route. It was an old T-6 Trainor from WWII, which might have been a modern plane back in the time depicted on TV in Mayberry.

All–in-all, it was a great parade in small town America and the absolute best way for those who came to view it to pause and celebrate this great country. Where else but America could you go see such a parade that is set in, and filled with the small town values of, Mayberry.  Maybe you had a parade like ours, too, in your little piece of Mayberry.


4th of July Parade in Milford

June 30, 2016

The annual Independence Day Parade (4th of July Parade), presented by the Milford Historical Society,  actually takes place on the Monday, the 4th of July, this year; however, it will not take place using the usual parade route.

Due to delays in the road construction project on E. Commerce Road, the Milford Public Safety officials have decided that it would d be unsafe to use E. Commerce Rd as part of the parade route; therefore the parade will start at the corner of N. Main Street and E. Commerce Road. People desiring to view the parade should not set up their chairs along E. Commerce Rd in front of  the Milford Historical Museum. The parade can only be viewed from Main Street this year. The parade will still proceed all the way down Main Street to the corner of Main and Huron Streets.

The change in parade route has also necessitated a last minute change in the parade line-up locations. The parade participants will line up on N. Main Street, N. Milford Road, Detroit Street and Union Street, north of Detroit St. If you are a parade participant you can find your parade slot by clicking here to see the line-up map. All parade entrants should plan to enter the line-up streets from Summit St. There will be street guards at the north end of the line-up streets to give people more information about their parade line-up slot. The parade steps off at 11 AM, but line-up for the parade starts at 10 AM. Due to all of the road construction and detours, parade participants should allow extra time to get to their line-up positions.

If you have questions about the parade roue or your line-up slot and location, call parade co-chairs Norm Werner at 248-763-2497 or Rich Harrison at 248-935-5556.

RotaryDucksFollowing the parade the Huron Valley Rotary Club will be hosting family fun activities in Central Park leading up to their annual Duck Race, which will be at 3 PM. Plan on spending the day in Milford.


Get into the 4th of July Parade…

June 15, 2014

The Milford Historical Society invites you to participate in the 2014 Independence Day Parade. Our Parade will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, July 4rd.   As you know this Parade is an opportunity for business and individuals to “Toot Their Horn” and show community spirit at the same time.  The Parade will begin in downtown Milford and end at Huron Street. Participants can begin staging in designated areas by 10:00 A.M.  Below is a link to the Application for the parade.  Please complete and send  or fax back.

 

The theme for the Parade will be:

Our  Milford,

    “A Small Village with a Big Heart”

 

parade band pic

We ask that your float, music or demonstration somehow relate to the theme through the use of colors, etc.

To participate in this year’s Parade, please fill out the attached form and return to the address below, with a stamped, self-addressed envelope so we may mail back to you your assigned parade spot.

We will be mailing back to you, in the envelope you have provided, confirmation of your placement in the Parade.

If you have any questions, or require additional information, please feel free to contact me.

In order to offset the rising cost of running the parade we are asking business participants to consider also including a donation to the Milford Historical Society with your application. Your donations of $10 – $50 will help keep the Independence Day parade going. Thanks

Sincerely,

 

Katherine and Russ Rheaume, Parade Coordinators

PO Box 685

Milford, MI 48381-0685

248-684-7373      248-684-0070  Fax   Email  krhea31888@aol.com

______________________________________________________________________

PARADE  PARTICIPANT  RULES  AND  REGULATIONS

 

The Milford Historical Society Independence Parade is an entertainment event.

It is geared for both businesses and families to show off our town and support this

great country where we live.

 

*    All vehicles towing floats should be driven with a clear path of vision.  People

walking along side should help with keeping children from stepping in front of the vehicle and getting injured..

 

*    The Parade line up will be mailed or e-mailed about a week before the event..

We ask that each participant respond by phone, E-mail, etc. that they have received their Parade Spot Number at that time.

 

*     Entry themes or props must not be based on controversial, political or social

issues  Naturally, no alcoholic beverages or banned drugs are allowed.

*     Parade participants are permitted to distribute material while going down the

parade route.  Absolutely nothing including candies, toys can be THROWN

at the parade viewers.  Michigan State Law prohibits throwing items in a parade.

Please hand these items to the parade participants. We don’t want anyone hurt while running into the traffic to pick up items off the ground.

.

*    Please do not leave any large gaps between your float and the one in front.

The Parade is usually video taped and video copies are shown to the community and nursing homes throughout the year.  Large gaps destroy the continuity of the

parade.  We suggest no more than 20 feet exist between each exhibit.

 

*   An announcer will be reading your provided script promoting your exhibit as you

pass by.

 

*   Milford Historical Society volunteers wearing MHS T-Shirts will be situated all

along the route to assist and answer any questions that arise.

 

*   We encourage animals in the Parade, but insist that they not be dangerous and are

properly trained to be among people while leashed, ridden, hooked up, etc.

 

*     The Milford Historical Society reserves the right to restrict, limit, accept or reject

any exhibit application.

 

*    Our goal is to have everyone go home after the event with fond memories of

a Parade well done in a safe, fun  and interesting manner

 

Click here to get the parade application. Print it out and return it (see address above) or Fax it in (248-684-0070) to reserve your spot in the 2014 Independence Day Parade on July 4th.


Get in the Parade!!!

June 25, 2013

The Independence Day Parade is next week – this year it’s actually on the 4th of July. Get your group signed up by downloading the parade application at –

 

http://www.milfordhistory.org/2013_Parade_Application.pdf parade

 

 

There’s nothing more American than marching in the 4th of July parade, so get your group or organizaiton signed up and get into the parade! Come celebrate the birth of this great nation in small town America. If you can’t or don’t want to march, come watch. The parade steps off at 11:00 am at the corner of Commerce Rd and Union St.

 

I’ll see you there!