I do love butter and eggs. I also Love a Parade. Oh yes. And Petaluma’s Butter and Eggs Days Parade and Festival took me back 65 years to the small city parades of my youth when families drove thirty miles into town for the excitement.
And no, we’re not talking about LA’s Rose Bowl Parade or the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans or the Karneval parade in Köln or San Francisco’s gay parade, all known variously for spectacular floats, huge contingents, exquisite satire, bacchanalian revelry, or all of the above. And hundreds of thousands packing the parade route.
Oh no, let’s scale this down to something appropriate for a population of 59,000. Spectacular floats? Well, some effort was put into a good many of ’em, but still. My favorite was this wonderful rhinoceros truck.
Marching bands? You bet, four of ’em. But 76 trombones? Oh please, lucky to have seven.
Exquisite satire? Ummm, didn’t see none, nor even much humor other than in some chicken-oriented costuming, like this wonderful crossing guard.
There were lots of contingents of dance schools and clubs, including several Mexican folkloric groups.
Hundreds of thousands packing the parade route? Actually, i thought the turnout was pretty damn fine for a town this size, as the half of the parade route that went down Petaluma Boulevard was solidly lined on both sides of the street and the food and entertainment venues were pretty well thronged.
Petaluma seems to be a haven for vintage vehicle aficionados, and there were many old cars and trucks in the parade, including some old fire trucks.
Here’s the oldest vehicle.
And the newest.
OK, that’s the SMART train parked at the Petaluma Station. The city is all excited over SMART, folks packed this train while it was parked there, and we’re eagerly awaiting the opening of service from Santa Rosa to San Rafael this fall.
After i’d photographed every parade entry and – forgetting how awful chili dogs always are in a state where you can’t get decent chili – eaten parts of one at a booth, i met Christian for a drink at a sidewalk cafe on Western Ave just off the boulevard. He introduced me to Ace Perry Cider, and it was love at first sip. It was so delicious that i could have drunk several, but fortunately i stood up for a moment as i finished the first and realized that one at 5% alcohol was quite sufficient. I was looking at the bottle with its drawing of a pear and thinking the Ace folks were indulging in a pedestrian pun until i did a bit of Googling and discovered that “perry“! is the original name for an alcoholic beverage made of pears, just as “cider” was the name of the one made of apples and that furthermore “perry” is also the name of the type of pear, now nearly extinct, traditionally used to make the drink.
I’ve always made it easy for people to be a Bad Influence on me, so i let Christian trick me into having a Lagunitas IPA with him at Seared and then wove my way home on the Segway.
Afterwards, i got to thinking more about the differences i was seeing between this small city parade and the big city ones, and i realized that i was inflating the differences. The only real difference is one of scale. In both, the entries are local businesses, organizations, and politicians. It’s just that those things are all, like the parades, bigger in the big city.
Actually, the main difference i saw was what i didn’t see. A good time was had by all rather than bacchanalian revelry and bad behavior. Even though i’m too old for it myself, i still have nothing against revelry, but i sure do appreciate folks in Petaluma behaving better than those in the big cities.