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Yelm Prairie Days Parade – A persepctive

County Commission Karen Valenzuela & County Auditor Mary Hall
ride in Walt Jorgensen’s replica 1929 Mercedes Benz convertible.
Photo credit: Walt Jorgensen

Editor’s Note:
I have been a participant and spectator in many parades of Americana in towns big and small, spanning my 60 years. This year, I was invited to march with several Yelm Parade participants, yet chose to march and sign-wave with County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela and County Auditor Mary Hall, both up for re-election this year.

I witnessed two things in this year’s parade I had not seen previously:
– Wal-Mart brought a semi-truck with many folks pushing Wal-mart’s grocery-style carts filled with water bottles to be passed to parade observers. This was in direct competition to the Yelm Lions Club, which had frequent golf carts go by selling bottled water and snacks. An American Parade is no place for a corporation’s semi-truck, in my view and that parade sponsors allowed Wal-Mart to pass out free water bottles was directly opposed to the mission of Yelm Paririe Days to raise funds for the Yelm Lions Club.
Also, a town parade is no place for an Intercity Transit bus, a parade participant, in my opinion. This bus is financed by tax payer dollars and patrons.

– I asked Commissioner Valenzuela if I may pass out candy to the children. She said she preferred that not happen, that she is a mother and does not want to be one to promote all of that candy to children. I asked her about fruity snacks, which she approved, so I had 500 packets of fruit snacks with me to distribute. So many parents thanked me for being so thoughtful, many not allowing their children to have the candy handouts. Yet, the majority of children had bags filled with candy. Commissioner Valenzuela taught me something to be aware with her stance, something I greatly appreciated learning.

I recall never having candy disseminated at parades in Kentucky when I was a child, so why now?
The candy distribution should be stopped and something more healthy should only be permitted.

From the Yelm Chamber of Commerce Parade Registration Form:
Candy/Prizes distributed during parade may not be thrown from moving vehicles.
“Please have walkers hand out your candy and prizes to the spectators. Safety First no throwing candy from floats, cars etc.”

Ed. Note: Why is this not enforced?

Has Yelm’s Prairie Days Parade denigrated to being taken-over by commercial interests (i.e. a Wal-Mart semi truck & Intercity Transit bus) and parade entrants competing on who distributes the most or “best” candy to kids?
Will Safeway (Albertson’s) want their semi-truck entered next year?

Many folks noticed these same things this year and commented.
Perhaps a re-examination of what is desired to be achieved is now required.

– Prairie Days Parade 2014
“Despite rain threatening to pour down, the 2014 Prairie Days Parade Thursday night remained warm and dry. The two-hour-plus parade had thousands gathered in the heart of Yelm for the community event.”
Click here for more images from the Nisqaully Valley News.

Posted by Steve on June 27, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

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