Americans hold an average of 7,000 parades each month.
Years ago when I lived in New York City I bought a book called “America’s Idea of a Good Time”. The writer and photographer, Kate Schermerhorn, traveled the country to capture America’s idea of fun in her own pursuit to define happiness. A large portion of her photos were of parades. Fast forward ten years and I find myself in New York City, stumbling upon a parade. While this parade included glittery costumes, twirling batons, and a mean drum line generating a mean drum beat I wouldn’t say there was happiness. Why? Not a smile was to be found on any paraders face. Instead each young face showed focus, boredom, determination, nervousness, shyness or perhaps they were just “too cool” to smile. They loved this moment, it was plain to see in their apathetic expressions, parading down 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues and capturing the attention of a modest crowd of family, friends, passersby and enthusiastic children. Unwittingly adults were swaying hips, kids were dancing and clapping, parents were snapping photos and strangers shared smiles. When the parade wrapped, the paraders quickly broke formation and you could see and hear the giddiness and celebration that parades inspire. As quickly as the crowd formed the crowd dispersed like nothing had happened, just the lingering beat working its way through our feet.