Marcophiles: Even cavemen loved a parade

CHRIS CURLE
Doris K. Farmer/Special to the Eagle
This parade in 1985, celebrating Marco Islandís 20th anniversary as a modern day community, featured several horses, mostly absent from modern-day parades here.

Doris K. Farmer/Special to the Eagle This parade in 1985, celebrating Marco Islandís 20th anniversary as a modern day community, featured several horses, mostly absent from modern-day parades here.

We're still about five months away from Marco's two winter holiday parades, one boat, one street, but already some Islanders are preparing for all the activities that comprise the popular "Christmas Island Style."

It's a landmark year for the annual event, its 25th anniversary.

"Every year in June or July I start getting calls so people can book caterers and make other plans for house parties along the parade route," says Stef Stefanides, now in his eighth year as chairman of the holiday fun and games.

"It's the best thing I've ever done because it is just wonderful to see how many people come out and come together to make it a really nice event, individuals and businesses."

The two parades are popular play dates for a lot of non-residents too.

"Each year I get calls from people in Naples, Bonita, Estero and elsewhere who want to know where to watch," Stef says. "For the boat parade I tell them about the Snook Inn and the Esplanade and often they stay after the parade to party. And many say they'll be back.

"I've talked with visitors at parade time who say they've never been to the restaurants before, but saw them at the boat parade and check them out."

So the economic impact on some Marco wining and dining venues can be significant.

Also the Isles of Capri has its own Christmas boat parade, now in its ninth year. Goodland has a Mardi Gras boat parade every February. And Marco has its St. Patrick's Day parade. Also Everglades City celebrates Independence Day with a parade.

We wonder why humans get such a kick out of lining streets to watch other humans pass by, on foot or on floats or boats and so forth. It's not like a parade is a recent phenomenon, a passing fancy.

Crude drawings on the walls of cavemen's digs show people and animals walking in rows, which must have depicted celebrations of, what, discovering fire?

Roman emperors loved a parade, especially when they featured the shackled masses of their vanquished enemies. You don't see much of that anymore.

Even our beloved Declaration of Independence was on parade, so to speak, for a few years after its official signing on Aug. 2, 1776. The National Archives reports the document probably was filed in Philadelphia on Dec. 12 of that year, then taking it secretly to Baltimore, then back to Philly before it was carried to Washington DC in 1800.

Other stops were at a gristmill in Virginia in 1814, while the British were trashing Washington, and at Fort Knox, KY, during World War II.

So there is tradition and precedent for Americans' collective passion for a good parade.

Our own parades are not as exciting as all that, but they're safer and cleaner, in part because to our knowledge our local parades have never featured elephants.

We did have some horses in a parade here in 1985, part of the celebration of Marco Island's 20th anniversary as a modern day community.

Some people love being part of a parade. It's just in their blood. And that justifies the retelling of an old joke about a guy whose job was to clean up after a carnival parade featuring elephants and horses.

A spectator, seeing the guy shoveling all the huge droppings, asked him, "How can you put up with such demeaning conditions? Haven't you ever considered another line of work?"

Replied the parade poop picker-upper, "What, and give up show business?"

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail chris@chriscurle.com. Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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