WPSU

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Schock and Awe

We spent an extra day in Havana, Illinois, catching up on email, with the unexpected consequence that we were in town for the annual Oktoberfest:  Carnival rides, brats 'n beer, live music, and a parade.

The red-brick streets and 1880s storefronts given downtown Havana antique charm
Years ago we lived in rural upstate New York, and we have fond memories of Memorial Day parades in the town of Dryden. After the Clydesdales and the marching veterans' groups and the Boy Scouts and the pom-pom dance teams and the Dairy Princess waving shyly from her perch in a red convertible, the very last feature of the parade was the mayor himself, not riding in a fancy car, but walking along, pushing a very large push broom, sweeping up after.

So, just for nostalgia's sake, here are a few photos from the parade in Havana.

My favorite part of parades: Vintage tractors! This guy didn't think much of the driving skills of
the guy ahead of him . . . 
OK, old tractors are my favorite, but the new ones were also impressive! One was so big, it took a full flight of steps to reach the cab, and it rolled along on tank treads.
Have you seen this in your town? The Havana parade seemed to be made up mainly of campaigning politicians . . . some riding in convertibles or SUVs, some in mini-vans or trucks, and one in a camouflage-painted four-wheeler (useful for deer hunting).

Most of the candidates were tossing candy to the children, but one guy,  savvy young Congressman Aron Schock, had a team of supporters carrying clouds of yellow balloons, which they handed to the kiddies along the route.  We called this the "Schock and Awe" strategy--carpet the place with balloons  bearing your name, and hey, what's a parent who disagrees with the guy's politics gonna do, tell a small child, "No, you can't have a balloon?
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