What does a town do when they can’t get a band to march in their parade?
Resort to good old fashioned Yankee Ingenuity! Kathy Clark did that 26 years ago in coming up with an outrageously simple solution. Everyone carry a boom box radio and the get the main St. radio station WILI www.wili.com to play parade march music. That is the way it has been ever since. It is a very eclectic bring whatever, all are welcome parade ever since and it draws thousands of viewers to a Main St decked out in 4th of July finery and a willing host to the essential American experience.
Ten deep at the sidewalks that fall back on open space the families of the region and beyond set up their space early in the morning to await the announcement it is about to begin. The parade has attracted National press coverage and unique local coverage as well. 2011 saw 4 newspapers print stories and pictures and three televison crews were on hand to film. It was a perfect July 4 with warm but comfortable sunny skies and a slight breeze, the crowds came out in droves. They were awaiting the annual appearance of regulars like the Fishheads and the Haggerosa Fire Co a family with an antique fire apparatus and more. They line up to cheer for little league players and Karate schools, kids on bikes and social programs. There a plenty of classic and antique autos including Mountain Dairy, our family farm. www.mountaindairy.com
This year a new entry was the Connecticut Storytelling Center. www.connstorycenter.org
I have been planning increased visibility for storytelling in my hometown and vicinity. In adding a parade entry I knew 10,000 people would see the name and get a quick intro. I have been on the local radio a couple times, this is good follow up. This past winter both neighboring colleges, Uconn and Eastern CT. State University participated in Campus Slammer story slams. We are growing our own following person by person.
The video introduces my next local piece. “VoiceMail” a open mic for storytelling held once a month will be hosted by this well known Main Street pub The Willimantic Brewing Company. You will see the camera pan the location in the old Post Office building. With several awards for their specialty brews and delicious food we are sure to have a good crowd for dinner and stories in the Postmasters office will follow. www.willibrew.com Soon I’ll be announcing the dates and getting all the social media publicity going and the local papers and of course radio. In the mean time we sure had fun with the Willimantic, CT. Boom Box Parade. P.S. the parade puppy is a Wheaten Terrier named Lily, everyone loves a parade!