Sunday, July 26, 2009

Torchlight Redux

I missed the first half hour of the parade. I had important stuff to do - like lose money at poker to some guys in the U District. When I got to my vantage point at 4th & Blanchard, my only concern was whether I'd missed the dragon. I asked a few people in the crowd. Some said yes; others said no, so the matter was open to interpretation. I settled in to watch and wait for the possible arrival of the wonderful dragon. It had been a really weird day weather-wise; the early part had been overcast and kind of gloomy, then the sun blazed, then it clouded up and started raining, which, combined with the heat, is something I call "instant North Carolina." Yeah, it was really quite steamy in Belltown.

The parade was very much like it's been in years past. That's fine. People know what to expect. There were drill teams:



I still haven't figured out what their purpose is. All I know is that the fattest chick in the group seems to be in charge in all cases, except for the Chinese drill team:

Everybody's tiny, so I have no idea who bosses around whom. Even with the banners, elaborate hats and additional bling, I still haven't figured out what the heck any of these drill teams is supposed to accomplish. Do they make the make the world a better place? Beats me! Do they improve their members' characters? Who knows? Why do their uniforms have so many tassels? Ask somebody else! I'm just gonna declare this a mystery and move on. I really wanted to see the dragon.

There were also balloons:


I'm not sure who the killer whale belongs to. Some corporation has to be behind it. It's not like you can just march with an inflatable killer whale for no reason. There has to be some business angle. I mean, only idiots would drag a balloon down the street if it didn't make money or enhance some corporate image. Am I right? Like with hydroplanes; they all have to be sponsored by one company or another, no matter what they do. Over the last few years, one of the more competitive boats has been sponsored by a bunch of plumbers. Speaking of hydroplanes, here are a few:

That's hydro legend Chip Hanauer on the Boeing boat (or is it a ship?). Nobody crashed more than Chip. It's kind of amazing that he's still alive.

The old-school Miss Wahoo. It doesn't appear to have any corporate sponsorship, therefore it has no chance of winning.

Here's the very yellow Chevy hydro - or more accurately, it's the 40% Chevy, 60% U.S. Treasury Department hydro. It looks fast, but I'm sure that the government will order it to slow down while bureaucrats review requisition forms for engine parts. That event is meant to distract us from their real nefarious aim: to saddle us with government-rationed healthcare while forcing us to gay marry. Still no dragon.

Here are various and sundry other parade acts:

These guys don't really care about Scandinavia; they're just really into the museum.

The Tulalip Casino float. Gosh, I thought it would be gold-plated.

Horses from Ellensburg...

Koreans from, uh, Korea...

Strawberry Festival float from wherever there's a Strawberry Festival.

The Sikhs are tired of being messed with. They've gone and invented their own martial art: Sikh fu. And they've got their own private army of fearsome teenagers:

Be on your best behavior in Sikhtown.

Yes, all of this was really fascinating, but where, oh where, was the dragon? While keeping vigilant watch for it, I saw things - terrible things...

The float from Prosser...

Adult cheerleaders... And blurry Miss Seafairs:


I was beginning to think that I really had missed the dragon. I grew sad, but the military cheered me up - sort of:

The Navy band kept playing for very short stretches and quitting.

The Coast Guard didn't even field a band, they just carried a giant American flag down the street. The Army also had no band, which was a huge disappointment. They could always be relied upon to produce a stirring rendition of "The National Emblem March" in years past. This time around, they just had the guys with the flags from all 50 states and that was it. No music; only national pride. Quel dommage...

Oh, and the Seafair clowns were there:

This is an exclusive photo of them getting liquored up at 2nd & Blanchard before the parade.

And here's their krazy klown kement mikser. How's that for komedy "K's?"

By this time, I'm pretty tired of waiting for the dragon. It's getting dark. Last year, they went through when it was full-on daylight. But wait, what's that??

Oh, that's just a dark 'n' blurry picture of the Mariner Moose on a Segway. What about that??

That's the Museum of Float flight - oops! - Museum of Flight float. News flash, guys! A sailing ship is not an airplane!

I'm just about ready to pack it in when - could it be?? I hear drums and cymbals. The crowd is going wild down the street. I see a bunch of guys in red and white. It's - Yes, the dragon has arrived!!!
video
This is just a small sampling of what they did. They ran so much around the 4th & Blanchard intersection that they had to switch runners three times. It was great. Another year, another awesome dragon display.

So that was the Torchlight Parade. Let's take a moment to salute the real heroes: the souvenir hawkers!

We need all that crap, all the time.

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