The Newport Christmas Parade was amazing!
The group gathered at a fellow SCA member’s house in town shortly before noon. Some members worked to put finishing touches on our float while the rest of us changed into our finery.
MrH had finally finished his outfit, a doublet and Venetians (call them short pants) in Father Christmas green with red and white trim. By all accounts, he looked amazing.
I was in a gold velvet and brocade dress, simply cut but very elegant. I was lucky in that I could just slip it over my head and didn’t have to be laced, buttoned, or tied into my clothing.
My friend J had lent me a headpiece, a fancy, elaborate confection with pearls, a veil, the works. Unfortunately, the tie didn’t keep it in place well, and my hair is quite fine and kept slipping out of the clips we used to keep it in place. It would have been lovely indoors, but wasn’t designed for a brisk walk with occasional breezes.
We drove to the Community Center, where our post-parade reception was to be held and waited until it was time to line up for the parade.
As we came out of the Center, I was talking to a friend about how my emotions seem to be a bit more volatile since having the brain tumor removed. Someone else put in, “That’s normal. My neice just had a brain tumor removed. She’s seven.”
I thought she was one of our members, so I chatted a bit more about the emotional aftereffects of brain surgery. And then it dawned on me that I wasn’t absolutely sure which group member I was talking to. I turned to my husband and said, “Is that K.?”
No. No, it was not K. It was some random mom waiting for her kid. Oops. Sorry, Random Mom. I don’t usually overshare with random strangers I’ve just met. I save that for the internet.
It was lovely talking with you, though.
We got a ride partway to the line-up and had to walk the rest of the way. I wish that we’d had time to look at the other floats so that MrH could describe them to me. There was a lot of cheerful noise, banter, singing and cheering.
Our float was a wagon with a double bench down the middle, facing the sides. There was a garland around the rail, and banners hanging below that. There may have been other details, but that’s what I felt or what was described to me.
MrH and I chose to walk behind the float, holding hands. Our group had planned to do a dance during stops along the route, and I thought that if I got tired, I could climb into the wagon during one of the stops.
Ha! When it was finally our turn to go, our driver set off at a good clip. Not fast for a vehicle, but a little more than a comfortable walking pace. I was a little annoyed with him until afterward, when I found out that the whole parade moved at that speed. MrH told me afterward that it was the fastest-moving parade he’d ever been in.
And so we walked briskly along, smiling and calling “Merry Christmas” whenever someone in the crowd called it out to us. I would have waved, but I had my cane in one hand and MrH’s hand in the other, so I just smiled.
Other members of the group stopped to hand out candy canes, little necklaces with our group’s heraldry on them, and business cards and fliers telling people about our group and how to contact us. I understand they frequently stopped to answer questions and had to scurry – or hike up their skirts and run! – to catch up with the wagon.
Though MrH and I didn’t stop, I heard a lot of compliments on our outfits, and a lot of people seemed interested in who we are and what we do.
MrH told me afterward that between getting to our float and the parade itself, we probably walked 2-3 miles. I’m kind of impressed that I managed to do that, especially at such a quick pace and in a heavy full-length dress. I sure was glad to sit down, though!
After the parade, we caught a ride back to the Community Center. Everyone had brought dishes to pass, and there were a number of sweet treats as well as a couple of soups, some meat pies, and sausage cheese bread. It was a delicious repast, especially on the heels of a long march!
MrH took my picture, then a friend took his and a couple shots of us together. I thought I would post one here, but can’t seem to work out how to do it tonight…
We all sat around and talked until people began drifting off toward home. I think we were all kind of jazzed up by the experience – I know I was!
I know that I had a lovely time,a nd I’m looking forward to doing it all over again this weekend in the Morehead City Christmas Parade.
Have you ever marched in a parade? Did you have a good time? Did you have to run to keep up?