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October 29, 2007


Terrence Berres

Wouldn't you have to concede there's no necessary connection between having a downtown main street and having such a parade?


Yes. And I would also concede that, technically, you can scuba dive in a bathtub.

Terrence Berres

Actually you can't "dive" in a bathtub.

A lot of we Frankliners think we're at an Independence Day parade during the Civic Celebration. Are you saying that's only "technically" true?


All right, I'll play (in the time it takes for my pictures of the Sendik’s opening to download).

Recall that my blog entry’s title is “Things you can do on main street: The annual (and world famous) Anoka, MN Halloween Parade.” Not “Things you CAN’T do anywhere else.” You seem to have a rock in your shoe regarding the issues of community that I write about. Commenting on a specific positive experience or idea does not negate all other experiences and ideas.

Also, include me in the "we" of Frankliners who attend and enjoy the Independence Day parade.

Civic pride notwithstanding, anyone who has experienced a main street parade (like the one in Anoka) as opposed to a parade held on “an available blocked-off road” can tell you that they are two different experiences.

Consider the pictures linked above. See all those locally-owned businesses lining the street (hanging on for dear life, by the way)? The cafés, restaurants, coffee shops, diners etc. provide engaging public spaces before, during and after the actual parade; this street is alive from dawn to dusk on parade day. The citizens of Anoka (and visiting out-of-towners like myself) come early to mix and mingle at the coffee counter or at a diner booth. We stay afterward to get something to eat, or a pitcher of beer (or two) at Billy’s, or ice cream at the corner.

The parade is two hours long, but the community “recharge” goes on all day.

These endangered businesses provide a tether for city-wide traditions, like the Anoka fire department’s “Vulcanators,” who wear elaborate jumpsuit uniforms and roam the parade smudging shoe polish “V’s” on the cheeks of the willing (years ago, I’m told, the unwilling were smudged as well). They certainly add color to post-parade libations.

A parade like the one we have in Franklin is not without its charms, but if you were to be honest with yourself, you’d have to admit that it is in large part a simulation of the main street parades of generations past. The park is close by, which is wonderful, but there is/are no commercial public spaces surrounding the event; no place to catch some shade and linger for a day-long experience out-and-about among fellow Frankliners. Here, as in other main street-less suburbs, the parade is like a movie you attend; show up, watch it, then pack up and go home for further celebration in your own home or yard with invited guests.

Scuba diving in a bathtub. We've been doing it since WWII.

Terrence Berres

You say you didn't mean your topic to be "Things you CAN’T do anywhere else". It sure looks like that's what you mean when you go on to call our local parade a "simulation".

"See all those locally-owned businesses lining the street (hanging on for dear life, by the way)?"

Sure do, and I remember corner groceries, though I can't say I miss them.

I'll agree that if you can go diving in a bathtub without scuba gear, then you can also do it with.

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