Friday, June 18, 2010

Manitou Days Parade

It is a gorgeous evening, perfect for relaxing in the backyard with friends, so it is with some hesitation that I instead accept their invitation to join a little gathering in White Bear Lake for the evening.

I’m far more enthusiastic a short time later when the tree trimmers show up to begin work in the neighbor’s yard.


(Can you spot the tree-trimmer? Trust me, even if they can be hard to see, they are not hard to hear!)

White Bear Lake’s summer festival is called Manitou Days and tonight is a big parade that kicks off the event.

One of our friends have a lot at the every end of the parade route. Well, near the end of the parade route. The parade doesn’t actually pass their property, but it starts to dissolve just down the block. Our friends assure us that sometimes performers will give a special encore performance just for them (although they’ve never convinced a marching band to do that) and there is often candy left (although not usually the really good candy).

But all that is more-or-less irrelevant, because I’m really here to hang out with friends on a lovely evening and enjoy dinner and drinks. The parade is just a bonus!

We are literally a block from the lake.

The parade starts off with the obligatory antique police car, but – this being White Bear Lake – it is quickly followed by trucks pulling gorgeous vintage boats. We’re off to a good start.

The parade follows the street along the lake. Some of the units turn and end up passing us as they leave, but most continue straight into the park and then disburse, coming past us only to pack up or begin to wander back to their homes and vehicles.

I actually really like parades, so head to the end of the block to check things out, I’m surprised by how narrow the street is – it is more a lane than a street. As the trucks drive by pulling various and sundry floats, wagons, and boats, the passengers lean over the side warning those lining the narrow lane to pull their toes back out of the street.

It may be the most picturesque setting for any parade in America.

It’s a pretty typical small town parade though, with a few dignitaries and marching bands . . . and lots and lots of children.

Cool, but I think I’m ready for a drink, so it’s time to return to our little party.

We aren’t very successful at scoring candy (everyone swears they already gave it all away), but most people wave and a various friends stop by to chat.

It's all highly entertaining.

We even convince a few folks to perform for us, like this juggler who starts off with his juggling clubs. . .

. . . and then offers to demonstrate his technique using a few of our beers.

Opps.

The guys will probably want to wait awhile before they open those. . .

We ALMOST get to see a marching band too, as the New Richmond Marching Tigers continue directly from the street into the park and past the water station in front of us before breaking ranks and calling it a night.

Sheriff Fletcher actually has candy left (and really great huge balloons) when he reaches our little gathering.

You can't be too fussy when you’re watching a parade from this vantage point!


Time to move along. After all, there is a house down the street a bit where there is a rhubarb pie waiting for us.

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