There is only one thing that will get me out of bed at 4:30 in the morning. And since it only happens once a year, I'm happy to do it. Finding a spot along the parade route is something in which we Portlanders take great pride. Perhaps more than any election, this is democracy in action. Camping out on the side walk in the pre-dawn hours is a great equalizer as Portlanders make friends over coffee and baked goods as we wait for hours saving the perfect spot for our families.
Since I grew up in Irvington, so close to the parade route, my dad was the one who would drag lawn chairs from our house to an open spot in the wee hours of the morning. My mom would bring us out to meet him at a more practical time before the parade started. I remember that the very first time I ever had cream cheese was on an english muffin he had brought from home for us to snack on while we waited for the parade to begin. I remember watching the parade as a child under sheets of plastic to protect us from the rain. But, unlike the adage that it always rains on the Grand Floral, not every parade has wet weather. Although my family stopped going to the parade, through high school I continued the tradition of camping out nearly overnight with my friends.
My first time going to the parade as an adult was 3 years ago for the centennial. I couldn't miss out on that event. Mr. W was none too pleased about the idea of getting up so early to camp out on the street, but since I was about 6 months pregnant at the time, I was the only one with room to complain. if he had his way, we'd show up around 9:30 to get a spot for a parade that starts at 10. This is exactly the kind of person we who camp out despise, especially when they try to squish in on your front row spot.
The forecast called for 80 degree weather so I decided this was as good a time as any to introduce the littlest W to the Grand Floral. Since Mr. W had a business trip to California and didn't return home until midnight, I knew that the best option for us was for me to camp out and then have our friend Mr. F come with his son to pick up my boys and join me around 8 or 9. Will it surprise anyone that they showed up just moments before the parade began? Anyway, the weather ended up being terrific, but unfortunately 2 hours is too long to hold the attention of two year olds. The first 40 minutes the boys sat mouths agape watching the motorcycles, horses, floats and bands pass by. But since the temperature was rising they prefered to run around in the shade of the building behind us. It was a great parade though, which I enjoyed.
The only thing I did not enjoy was that the Rose Court was riding in vintage cars rather than their usual float. I read later that this is the second year in which no one has sponsored a float for the Rose Court. WTH? They had a float for the members of the 1960 Rose Court, but not the current court? This seems totally unacceptable to me, I don't understand why the Royal Rosarians aren't securing a sponsor or sponsoring it themselves. This should be resolved by next year.