Although the Fourth of July has passed, the parades continue in Northwest Indiana. On Saturday, July 6, Michigan City hosted their 58th Annual BIG Parade in continuation with the Michigan City Summer Festival. The parade’s name certainly does it justice.
The theme for this year’s parade was “Red, White, & Zoo.” Beyond celebrating the United States of America, the parade celebrated a combined total of 225 years of birthdays. The year 2013 marked Washington Park Zoo’s 85th birthday, Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps' 75th birthday, and The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps' 65th birthday. Many eager onlookers arrived early to stake out their spot along Franklin Street. As in most years, roughly 180 floats strolled and marched through the precession. Many of the floats were decorated in honor of the zoo, and many of the float riders even dressed as exotic animals.
Spectator Haley Searle said, “This parade is just the best! I look forward to it every year. My favorite part would have to be seeing all of the floats. Some groups go all out and design amazing floats. This parade truly makes me feel like summer is here.”
A special feature that set this particular parade apart was the abundance of drum and bugle corps units. The streets were filled with the sweet cacophony of rollings drums, a happy change from the recent rumbling fireworks. While marching through the parade, the different units were being judged and scored. Later in the evening, the different units performed in the Annual Drum Corps International Pageant of Drums Competition at Ames Field.
Chairman of the parade Joe Doyle said, “The parade theme is ‘Red, White, & Zoo.’ We are celebrating 85 years for Washington Park Zoo many things that we did pertain that. We put it all together to celebrate 225 years of birthdays. We have worked with the Cavaliers for many, many years. They were able to put together the first show in Michigan City. It has been a tradition for many years.”
The parade brings out a large crowd of people that stacks four to five people deep along the street. Many spectators arrive nearly two hours early to stake out a prime seat to catch the hottest floats-such as the Washington Park Zoo float complete with live birds or the New Buffalo pageant float that had a sparkling and brilliant Alice in Wonderland theme.
“Michigan City Summer Fest in conjunction with the Parks Departments work together to put this non-profit event together. We always have a pretty wonderful crowd. Sometimes it gets a little hectic, but we are fortunate to have a good group of people in La Porte County that help line the parade up. We have judges that stroll through the parade judging the marching units as well. We are really fortunate to have such a great mix of entries. It is a fun thing,” closed Doyle.