Feb 102013

waiting for the parade

Spectator to participant, Morris’ Manitoba Stampede and Exhibition Parade to Scottsdale’s Parada del Sol Parade

Yesterday morning my husband and I marched down Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, Arizona as part of the annual Parada del Sol Parade. The parade is a family event that celebrates the western roots of the city. Horses, horse-drawn carriages, old cars, parade floats, marching bands, and local organizations paraded down Scottsdale Road, many in western gear.
Basset hound ready for Parada del Sol Parade

Basset hound ready for Parada del Sol Parade

The parade is one of the biggest horse parades in the country and it has a long history. The parade has been occurring every February for 60 years. A woman in the group we marched with remembers parades when Scottsdale Road was a dirt road with stop signs where the street lights are today.
Tai chi

Taoist Tai Chi – Scottsdale, AZ at 2013 Parada del Sol Parade

We marched with the Scottsdale branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA. The society is part of the International Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism. My husband and I belong to the Winnipeg branch. While wintering in Mesa, Arizona, we have been attending tai chi classes at the Scottsdale branch. We found a welcoming group of people, many of whom are snowbirds like ourselves, and a familiar atmosphere in which to continue the exercise so beneficial for body and mind.
lion dancer

Lion dancer at Parada del Sol Parade


We marched, waving to the people along the sides of the street. Lion dancers marched with us, flanking each side of our group. We marched to the beat of the lion dancers’ drummer. At points when the parade slowed, we stopped and demonstrated a couple moves from the 108 move tai chi set. Announcers sat at key intersections and introduced each parade entry to the crowd through loudspeakers.

Parada Del Sol is a non-profit organization providing financial and volunteer support to charities that provide health care resources and community programs to the under-served. They are able to provide these resources through the production and promotion of the Parada del Sol Rodeo, which will take place at the beginning of March, Parada del Sol Parade, and other charitable events.
Rodeo parades are a part of my personal history, although usually as a spectator, not a participant. The Manitoba Stampede and Exhibition takes place every July in my hometown of Morris, Manitoba. I was unable to attend the shows and midway of the first Manitoba Stampede, 50 years ago, due to scarlatina or some similar childhood disease, but I watched the parade from my aunt’s front yard.
Since then I’ve watched many Manitoba Stampede parades, most of them from my parents’ front yard. The parades began on their street. Family and friends gathered on their front lawn to watch. My daughter and her cousins raced to retrieve candy tossed by parade participants. At the beginning of the parade, treat bags were full and throws generous. One year, my husband and I helped my mother judge parade winners. After the parade, we always enjoyed the lunch my mother had prepared, which usually included home-made potato salad and coleslaw.
Waiting for parade to begin

Waiting for parade to begin

As we lined up with other parade entries yesterday, I felt the same festive expectation that marked the start of the parades I watched from my parents’ yard. Although the Parada del Sol Parade takes place in the centre of a large metropolitan area, there was a small-town feel.
We were number 106 in the parade, near the end. Only a few entries followed us. You can imagine what the road looked like after all the horses ahead of us. Some fancy footwork took place that was not part of any tai chi move.
Trail's End Celebration, Scottsdale AZ

Trail’s End Celebration, Scottsdale AZ

Immediately following the Parada del Sol Parade, the annual Trail’s End Celebration began, sponsored by Scottsdale Downtown. This huge block party took place in Old Town Scottsdale, with food and merchandise vendors, a bandstand and a country band, pony rides, children’s games, and bouncy castles. There was also a small display of vintage cars.
Band at Trail's End Party

Band at Trail’s End Party

vintage car

One of the vintage cars on display

parade start

Scottsdale and Oak, where Parada del Sol started. Parade entrants lined up on Scottsdale Road south of this point, and on Oak Street, both west and east of Scottsdale Road

The parade ran from Oak Street to Indian School Road, a distance of 1.5 miles. We walked it twice. We parked our car midway along the route, then walked to the start of the parade. At the end of the parade, we walked back to our car. Our bodies ached when we got home, but it was less from the walking than from the time we spent standing, waiting for the parade to start. We lined up an hour before the parade. The parade started at 10:00, but it was almost 11:30 before our group became part of the parade. Aching legs aside, we had a good time.
What are your favourite parades?

Leave a Comment