Ypsilanti’s Heritage Fest parade

I know I’m probably unusual in this regard, but I love small town parades. While I can see the attraction of big, overly-produced parades, like the one they have every year on Thanksgiving Day in Manhattan, I’d much prefer a little parade with rickety, homemade floats, where you can find the local Christian motorcycle gang following behind the high school band playing Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff.” There’s something incredibly beautiful about it. Here, for those fo you who share my fascination, are ten photos that I snapped Saturday morning during Ypsilanti’s annual Heritage Festival parade.


I was going to say that this photo was taken of our Mayor, who was right at the front of the parade, as he ran over and patted me on the head, but it’s actually a shot of him high-fiving my son, who was sitting on my shoulders at the time… Speaking of sons, you can hear the music of our Mayor’s son, Tim “The Booty Don’t Stop” Schreiber, here. (Tim, if you’re reading this, we absolutely have to get you in next year’s parade, on a giant booty float, with your dad.)


“Is she really dressed like a heaping stack of delicious pancakes, or is the same thing happening to me that happens to cartoon characters when they go without food for too long? Am I going to see my son as a pork chop with eyes, when I look down at him? I know I should have eaten something before leaving the house.”


A still photo just doesn’t do this justice. The Elmo puppet you see here was lip-synching along to a cranked-up yodeling track.


This is Jesus, caught in the act of popping up from his crypt. A number of churches participated in this year’s parade, but this was my favorite. I don’t mind the churches so much, but I wish there was a little more diversity. I’d love, for instance, to put together an evolution float next year… Just imagine someone dressed like Darwin furiously peddling Andy Claydon’s black metal bicycle and singing about how Creationism is bullshit.


Say what you will about John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in the history of the United States, the man is absolutely unstoppable. How he finds the strength at 87 to pretend to enjoy things like this, I’ll never know. It’s kind of freaky.


One of my favorite parts of the parade is watching the faces of the mortified fathers who are made by their wives and girlfriends to walk along with their infant children in the competitive “Beautiful Baby” portion of the parade. It’s crossed my mind before that it would be neat to build a tiny float around the stuffed figure of a baby, so that an adult could crawl around underneath and force his head through, like Jim Varney used to do. I know it’s an old gag, but I really can’t think of any better way to make this particular portion of the event more disturbing than it already is… And, no, I didn’t enter Arlo. As the holder of the ’69 Little Mister Frankfort title, I know what this kind of fame can do to a young person’s mind, and I want better for my son.


The van of mysteries!


Painfully unenthused pageant kids.


Armless child dressed as textbook to advertise one of our local charter schools.


I think it might be the same Jeep that was shooting at spectators during our Fourth of July parade, but this time the focus was a little less on murder, and a little more on historic preservation… The Rosie the Riveters in the back, if you can’t make out their signs, are urging people to contribute toward saving the historic Willow Run bomber plant. (Should the plural of “Rosie the Riveter” be “Rosies the Riveters”?)

I know the photos don’t really do it justice, but we really do live inside a David Lynch script.

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  1. T
    Posted August 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    “She can’t wave.”

    “Put her in a book.”

  2. Eel
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Dingell is a robot like the Terminator.

  3. anonymous
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Calvary school isn’t a charter, though; my guess is that it’s a private school.

  4. anonymous
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Is there any rhyme or reason as to who gets into Ypsi’s parades? Are there people who apply, but aren’t allowed in, or does everyone who shows up get in?

  5. Edward
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The van, I’m assuming, was to teach kids a lesson about “stranger danger”.

  6. 734
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    It’s how they teach kids at that school. They lock them in giant textbooks.

  7. Elf
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I’m always surprised to see no tattoo shops represented. I’d think they’d be all over it.

  8. Toro
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Beauty pageants for kids should be illegal. For adults they’re stupid. For kids, they’re criminal.

  9. double anonymous
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    At least there wasn’t a ‘Hanging Obama’ float.


  10. XXX
    Posted August 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Attacked by the Mayor.


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