Our family (apparently the baby is Kirk and me squared, skills included) consists of the most excellent parade spectators. We are super good at going to parades, and our skills did not go unrewarded:
The final tally was a 2-liter bottle of soda, a T-shirt, too much candy, a frisbee (aka candy scooper to get those pieces on the ground just out of reach), 2 pencils, a toothbrush, a jumprope, a few glowsticks, and a bunch of awesome coupons for freebies like ties and delicious sandwiches. (We already ate more candy than I'd like to admit before I took this picture.) So, would you like to know a few tricks? We have turned parade-going into an art and have learned many things, which I would love to share.
- Sit near the beginning of the parade route (but not at the very beginning) because paraders throwing stuff usually run out of goodies before they get to the end. And, they're not pooped out yet and cranky from walking a couple of hot miles.
- Try and find a place where you won't have stacks of neighbors in front and behind you. It is pretty essential to be at the front of the blanket lines if you want to get anything at all.
- Take anything that paraders hand out. We scored some sweet coupons by not being too snobby about people using the parade to advertise. I'm pretty sure that advertising is what parades are all about these days. Just embrace it.
- Take a cute baby with you that will bat her ridiculously long eyelashes and clap at everything. I know it seems like a cheap shot, but only if you're not serious about parades. Around here, we take parades seriously and aren't afraid to bring out the big guns.
- Bring a backpack (just pretend it's a diaper bag for the eye-batting baby) to put things in as you receive them so that you don't have a conspicuously large pile of booty to dissuade others from adding to your stash.
- Heckle your little heart out. Say things like, "Pop a wheelie!" to old guys on motorcycles and ladies on horses because it's funny. Cheer for the politicians even if you don't care and yell at the drum majors to have their bands "Play something!" instead of walking by just tapping on their drums. Cheer loudly the whole time, make eye contact with the good, the bad, and the ugly, and keep people in the parade excited. When people are excited and happy, they tend to be more generous. And if you yell, "Do a trick!" It turns out that throwing candy at your head is the most common trick paraders know.