New Hope parade celebrates 35 years in fashion
The New Hope Firecracker Parade celebrated its 35th anniversary Monday, July 4, with a fashion show, a “firecracker” vocal arrangement, a tuba band and a return performance of a fishermen drill team that was among the participants in the first parade.
The annual parade started as a neighborhood get-together in 1975 then lapsed after a few years before reviving in 1982. The event has remained an annual affair since then, traveling on County Road T in the town of New Hope to South Lake Road, to Trout Creek Road and back to T.
The parade stops on Trout Creek Road at South New Hope Lutheran Church at the intersection with T, where parade units performed in front of judges, who select the various winners for a coveted paper plate award.
The “Firecracker Fashion Fandango” float featured a number of models wearing various clothing from noted “designers” such as Christian Door, Armed Mani, the Coronet Dress Collection, the Aanrud Collection, Dolce Copa Cabana, Calvin deKlein and Vera Wanker.
The designs included the 24-carrot dress (including a neckline of carrots), with vegetative trim; the box skirt (of boxes around the waistline), with a tank (military type) top and cod (fish) piece; and the Aanrud halter-top (horse-type) outfit with bell bottoms (bells around the ankles); a sun dress (with a large sun attached), with a pea coat (material with a pattern of peas) and a pill box hat (empty pill bottles attached to a hat).
The parody of designs continued with a dress with a square (carpenter’s) neck; a pencil skirt (pencils hanging at the bottom with a crop top (plants); the Coronet Collection dress complete with cornet that the wearer used to made sounds; and a ball gown with a muscular look (worn by a male) that was decorated with balls and had a Belgian (horse) collar
The Wild Weekend Women (www.) float used the motto “Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues” and featured original lyrics about the annual Firecracker parade sung to the “Heart and Soul” melody.
Those lyrics include phrases such as “trying to win a paper plate,” “35 years of many, many floats” and a refrain introduced by “this is what we need from you, sing real loud.” The crowd then repeated that refrain, “firecracker, firecracker, firecracker, firecracker.”
Absent for nearly a decade, the fishermen drill team returned with rods and reels. The members showed how to cast lines in precision, walk in a circle clockwise with their poles raised, then counter-clockwise, form an arch with their rods for others to walk under and then march away in pairs with their rods over their shoulders.
The Tuba Band, a fixture in the parade for more than a decade, played a number of tunes, including “the album version” of “La Bamba” and the traditional “Roll Out the Barrel,” which had members of the audience dancing in the road.
The size of the crowd also led to double performances by some parade participants, the first in front of the judges at the west end of the church yard and the second for the spectators at the east end of the church yard.
The judges awarded the first-place paper plate to the fashion show, second place to the Wild Weekend Women, third place to the drill team and honorable mentions to the Tuba Band and the John Deere tractor with chorus.
In the kids division, honorable mentions went to Mike the Magician, the puppy girls and the braided horse with decorations.
The parade also featured a car with hydraulic features that allowed it to appear to be driving on two wheels, jump up and down and lift up.
Two spectators at the parade got there by mistake. Apparently going home from a fishing spot, a vehicle with two passengers pulling a boat and trailer got behind the last float and had to wait for the parade and post-parade festivities to end before it got to County Road T.
The vehicle got caught in a “New Hope traffic jam,” experiencing stop-and-go traffic for nearly an hour while parade units performed in front of the judge.