Why Not: Hold Parades?


As part of his occasional Why Not series, today GM ponders this: Why Not hold parades in Georgetown?

This thought occurred to him when he took in the Alexandria Scottish Christmas parade in Old Town last December. This parade–along with the equally Celtic St. Patrick’s Day Parade–always brings the best out of the Alexandria community. The route is lined, often several rows deep, with cheerful residents and visitors. The homeowners get into the spirit by decorating their houses with the St. Andrews flag and donning kilts. And following the parade, the shops are mobbed with people eager to knock a few names off their Christmas gift list.

The parades always leave GM a little bittersweet. Does Georgetown lack the sort of community spirit that Old Town has? Or does it lack the opportunity to express it?

What GM particularly likes about the Old Town parade is that it spends most of its route winding through the quaint residential streets. Perhaps that’s why the residents get so into it, they’ve got no choice.

So why not bring that opportunity to Georgetown with a parade of its own?

For it to be a true community event, GM thinks they would also have to wind their way through the sidestreets. This has the added benefit of not requiring the closure of arteries like M St. or Wisconsin Ave.

The Old Town parade last year was just .9 miles. GM figures Georgetown need not be quite as long (at least not at first). Here’s a simple route GM mocked up:


The parade would start at Visitation, in order to use the parking lot to stage the floats and bands, etc. The route would go down 35th to Prospect, over to 34th, up to O St. There it would wind it’s way down to Hyde-Addison, where the parade would end at the playground.

GM asked around and could identify only one community parade in recent memory. In 2001, there was a parade to celebrate the neighborhood’s 150th250th anniversary. This parade, however shut down at least Wisconsin Ave.

Lots of boring questions come to mind, like how to organize it and how to address complaints about parking etc. But a more fun question pushes those aside: what should the parade be about? Christmas, St. Patrick’s and the Fourth of July already have stiff competition, so those wouldn’t be a good idea.

But how about Halloween? Georgetowners have been getting more and more into Halloween in recent years. It used to be just Nancy Taylor Bubes going over the top, but now she’s got plenty of company. So the spirit is already there. And the parade could include neighborhood kids showing off their costumes. There could even be a Halloween party at Hyde at the end! This is a better idea the more GM thinks about it.

So what say you: why not?



Filed under Why Not

7 responses to “Why Not: Hold Parades?

  1. Topher

    Ah, yes right: 250th

  2. I love the idea of a Halloween Parade. It’s the one night the village really lets its perfectly-coiffed hair down.

  3. Back in the early 80’s, we used to have magnificent parades right down Wisconsin Avenue, from R Street to K Street. The parade was part of the Francis Scott Key Weekend celebration founded by The Georgetowner newspaper and the merchants of Georgetown. Marching bands from across America came to participate. Politicians rode in cars, merchants and civic groups (CAG, schools) had floats, military color guards were a big part of the parade, and it was broadcast live on the Hardin and Weaver radio show. Television crews covered the parades. The main organizers of the parades were Jim Weaver of W.T. Weaver Hardware, Tim Jackson of Swensen’s Ice Cream Parlour, Arnie Passman of Georgetown Lamp Gallery, and the board of directors of Georgetown Business Association. They were great fun.

  4. Pingback: Halloween Walk this Friday | The Georgetown Metropolitan

  5. Georgetown also was the site of the Trumbull and Core’s Gross National Parade, which was DC’s answer to Pasadena, California’s Doo-Dah Parade. It ran from about 1982 to 1988. The parade route was down M Street from 19th Street to Wisconsin Ave. It featured DC bureaucrats satirizing the bureaucracy. Participants included a precision briefcase drill team, Subversive Fruits and Vegetables (“White House Leeks,” etc.), Conan’s Librarians (NPRs Program Librarians). Youtube video is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3nrJPnLXSg

  6. Pingback: What an Odd Parade | The Georgetown Metropolitan

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