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Monday, July 5, 2010

Adventures of a G-list celebrity

Today was the annual Carmelfest 4th of July parade, or "prade" if you ask Charlie:


As one last vestige of the "celebrity" status bestowed on me by my participation in the Go Red Better U Challenge, I was invited to ride the St. Vincent Heart Center float in the parade. I really hadn't planned to do it because I weigh about 10 pounds more than my self-inflicted goal I'd set when the invite was first issued last March. But when Pam Irick from the Heart Center tracked me down via Facebook yesterday, I figured what the heck and told her I'd be there.

Before the parade started, all of the people representing St. Vincent in the parade were given red t-shirts. Co-challenger Kimila Brown and I went into Hobby Lobby to change clothes. That's where we ran into St. Vincent social worker Teresa who had just finished doctoring her over-sized shirt. She happily took a pair of scissors to our shirts as well, making them a little better fitting and a lot more airy.



Soon, it was time to load up and roll out.


This was the view from the beginning of the route:


As we pulled past my family, Annie and Charlie were waving madly. Mike was snapping pictures. Robbie, upon seeing me standing on the first float in the parade, shouted "Hey Mom, look up there! See that airplane?!" Perhaps G-list celebrity is thinking a bit too highly of myself.


To be honest, I felt pretty silly up on that float waving at people I mostly didn't know. I was glad for the St. Vincent volunteers walking alongside us who were handing out tchotchkes because all the kids were clapping and cheering for the free stuff, but at least I could pretend they were cheering for us float-riders. Of course, even the foldable frisbees they were flinging couldn't compete with the real object of the kiddies' desires: candy!


After about 10 or 15 minutes into the route, we picked up a straggler (no need to alert the authorities, her parents were walking with the St. V crew):


There were several bigger kids who were real troopers who walked (or rolled) the entire 1.6 mile route:

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Those people with the tents (check out the rollerblade picture again) really know how to watch a parade. In addition to self-made shade, they had quite a spread. If I'd been a little gutsier, I might have hollered for them to give me something to drink.

The parade was a lot of fun. We haven't been for several years, but there bands and fire engines, fancy cars carrying politicians and political hopefuls, veterans groups and of course, clowns.


We invited one dripping-with-sweat clown to hop aboard the pick-up pulling our float because, quite honestly, I was afraid we were gonna have to put that "best heart care in Indiana" slogan to the test if we didn't give him a lift. I wish we'd had him with us from the beginning. He really got the crowd going!


Before I knew it, we were at the end of the parade route. That's when I realized I wasn't sure how I was going to get back to my car. I was resigned to walking when a very nice group of church goers offered us a ride on their deluxe, multi-row golf cart.

For the first few minutes, I found myself waving to cars and people on the sidewalk, obviously still in "parade mode." But when we pulled out onto Rangeline Road, alongside real cars going real fast (at least compared to the putt-putt speed of our transport), I stopped waving and held on for dear life. Have you ever ridden a golf cart down a main thoroughfare? I think flying in a WWII stunt plane would be safer!

And that was pretty much the end of my "celebrity" adventure. I'm sure there were plenty of people scratching their heads, wondering who that not-so-fit lady was on the Heart Center float. And there were a lot of kids wishing we had candy for them. But at the very least, I got a chance to scope out where I want to sit to watch the parade next year.


Eternal Lizdom said...

How fun!! I wish I could have been there.

Jeff and I have been in a few parades... back in the day. Our theatre group started participating in the Noblesville parades- 4th of July and Thanksgiving. It's a toss up as to which one is worst... freezing cold and in costume in late Nov or steaming hot in costume in July. And we never had a ride.... always walking... in costume... blergh!

Shelley said...

How fun...and funny. I loved the phrase "multi row golf cart"...just made me laugh out loud.

Rebecca Jo said...

Nothing like a parade!

Gotta be so cool to see it from the "other side"... still doing that parade wave today? What a fun world if everyone driving down the road did that wave to everyone!