The Fourth of July Parade has always been special in Bonita Springs. When it comes to community get-togethers, it has been part of us for as long as I can remember. You know it must be a special event, because despite it being about 90 degrees by 10:00am, there are always people lining both sides of the street, anxiously waiting, fanning themselves and sweating. But, Bonitians are made of tough stuff and if you pick the right side of the street (guess!) and are lucky enough to catch some shade or smart enough to bring some with you, your head won’t melt and you’ll see a great show.
For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure… here are a few pointers that will help maximize your parade experience. First… remember to duck! It might be a face full of hard candy, or a good soaking with what you can only hope is water… but odds are… you’re going to get it. I don’t know when they started throwing candy from the floats, but most everyone does. The kids on the sidelines are thrilled, dashing around vacuuming up bags and bags of hard candy that may or may not be edible by the time they get home.
The water battle between people on the sidelines and the people on the floats has escalated in recent years and the weaponry has gone from squirt guns, to super soakers, to custom made contraptions. This would probably be OK if it wasn’t for all the “collateral damage”. Look… if someone has a weapon then they’re fair game… if not… it’s just unsportsmanlike to squirt defenseless people! Yes, I know it’s funny, but it’s just not cool!
Finally, if you’re driving a fully enclosed parade float powered by a gasoline engine, please vent the exhaust to the outside… not the inside of the float. For some reason, my memory is a little fogging on this, but as a youngster, I allegedly drove the church float, which was a scale model of the Methodist Church built over a riding lawn mower. Apparently, they were in a hurry getting it ready because there was no hole for the exhaust to get out and just a tiny slit to see out of. As I drove off, I think I remember hearing “Don’t worry, it’s a church…what could happen?” Anyway, about halfway through the parade I thought I was a big hit, because I could hear the screaming of the crowd. I wasn’t quite aware of it at the time, but I had become a little woozy from the fumes and the Methodist Church had run amok, weaving crazily in and out of the crowd on both sides of the road. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer any drain bamage!
I am not sure how good of a job I’m doing promoting this parade… but if there’s still some kid in you and you want to build memories that will last a lifetime, come on out and have a great, “well ventilated” time at the Fourth of July Parade!