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Tuesday 6 December 2011

Holiday Parade

Day 3 on our advent calendar featured a voucher for Ava and Lola to attend America's Children's Holiday Parade (or "The Christmas Pageant" as we called it) in Oakland.

I had seen pictures online of past Holiday Parades and was excited to see that they featured large inflatable balloon characters much like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. The Christmas Pageant at home doesn't ever have these balloons so I was looking forward to seeing a few. I think they're a great idea for busy parades, as small children (and short adults!) quite often miss out on seeing the parade action if they don't manage to get a spot right along the roadside. Everyone gets to see the large balloons as they bob along down the street. Much fairer for the little ones :)

Frosty the Snowman

So, in anticipation of seeing the large balloons, we set off to Oakland to watch the parade with the kids.

By pure chance we arrived at the parade and found ourselves in the same location as our old neighbors. Ava and Lola were pretty excited to see their little friend Solly and the three of them watched together as the floats, balloons and marching bands made their way down the street.

Most of the parade was much like the Christmas Pageant in Adelaide. Their were plenty of marching bands, drill squads, clowns etc but unlike the Christmas Pageant at home there was only one, that's right, just one, bagpipe band! I swear that when I was a kid every second group in the Christmas Pageant was a bagpipe band!

Marching Band

The fat one in the band always gets stuck with the tuba!

The other big difference was that there weren't that many actual floats. There were plenty of children's characters, mostly from cartoons, but Garfield, Pink Panther, Maisy Mouse, Cat in the Hat, Snoopy and co were driven down the street in sports cars (Mitsubishi Eclipses to be exact) rather than riding on colorful floats.

Maisy Mouse's Mitsubishi

Pink Panther gets a ride while a character (from Fraggle Rock?) bobs along behind

And of course, then there were the balloons. There were a couple of Nutcrackers, cupcakes, and cartoon characters that I had never heard of! Ava seemed to know who they were though.

Ava and a nutcracker

Glowing nutcracker with the sun lighting up its body

Big Christmas cupcakes.
The music from the marching band that just passed was too  loud for Ava's ears!

Another one of those mystery characters

The parade was quite entertaining but it ran slightly too long to keep the attention of a four year old. All up I think the parade lasted about ninety minutes. A long time to be sitting on the side of the road.

A little too long for Ava's liking

I think that Lola enjoyed the parade more than Ava did. Lola desperately wanted to join in and I had to stop her from following a marching band on more than one occasion!

Lola marches along behind the band!

Lola and Solly both try to join in!

Here are some more photos from America's Children's Holiday Parade - I just had to throw in that ridiculous name one more time!

A good vantage point from which to watch the parade

Ava finally got to try fairy floss. Her verdict? It's too sweet!

It's just not Christmas without Star Wars!

Ava and Lola watch a big penguin come down the road

Lollipops and gingerbread

A good view from up high

Lola watches a marching band. Too busy scoffing down food to try and follow this time!

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