Herald Journal Columns
June 19, 2006, Herald Journal

Spectators worry about the view


For the past several years, we have gone up north to our cabin the same weekend my hometown hosts Glencoe Days. This year was different. The weather was chilly and damp so we stayed home for the Glencoe Days Parade.

My, my, my. Have times changed.

The parade’s assembling area was sold to a big grocery store, so the bands and floats lined up in a different location. As a result, the parade route was changed so that it went right past our house.

Here’s what was really surprising: Some spectators were so worried they wouldn’t get a good spot to watch the parade, they staked out their territory more than six hours in advance.

The parade started at 1 p.m. Spectators came very early in the morning and draped blankets over sections of the boulevard where they wanted to sit. Some set up lawn chairs and lashed them together with tape similar to crime scene tape, making it obvious to other spectators they had staked their claim to that territory.

One elderly man sat in his lawn chair by 10:30 a.m. to make sure no one else took his spot.

It could be argued that the territory staked out on the boulevard was public, but spectators also staked out claims on private property as well.

The last straw for me was when I walked home from church, and there was a guy setting up a grill on our lawn. He was afraid if he went home for lunch, someone would take his spot.

My husband said the man had asked for permission to set up his grill there, but I was still outraged that someone thought that spot was important enough to cook on someone else’s lawn.

The Glencoe Days Parade is good, but not that good.

The parade was led by the Glencoe Silver Lake High School band. I didn’t know it at the time, but GSL doesn’t march in other towns’ parades anymore. The music was good, but the band looked unusually sloppy and uncoordinated. Most of the girls were marching two miles in flip-flops.

Since they weren’t competing against other schools, I guess they had permission to make a fashion statement if they chose. It looked bush-league, though. The girls couldn’t use the excuse that it was too hot to wear normal shoes, because the weather was unseasonably cool and cloudy.

The same could be said about the spectators who thought they had to have seats under shade trees. No one needed a shady spot.

(Incidentally, Dassel Cokato’s marching band was in Glencoe’s parade too, and it was outstanding!)

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