There is no other parade that can compare in simplicity to the Willy Street Parade. Each year as the warm summer memories fade and the cool breezes start to blow off Lake Monona a random group of local neighbors take to the streets for a parade. The event celebrates both the diversity of the neighborhood, and also the ever-popular Willy Street Fair.
While many come out to parade in the streets there are still more that follow another ritual each year. With cups of hot coffee homeowners and friends gather on lawns and front stoops to wave and applaud. With temperatures especially chilly today many were wearing sweaters and clasping the coffee mug to keep hands warm.
The nice thing about this small parade is that everyone knows everyone. It is just one big community. So when Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin walks to cheers and genuine support from friends and neighbors it is not surprising to hear the same greeting for the guy dressed like Elvis. Or the man who has converted a car into a ‘bubble-mobile.’ If you took the time to get into the parade and march down the streets you were certain to get applause. Though in a few cases today I think the participants would have settled for a cup of hot coffee instead of a hand-clap.
This neighborhood is the kind where you not only know who your immediate neighbors are, but also know and talk with folks who live two or three blocks down. As it is a walking neighborhood it is not uncommon any time of the year to start out for an evening stroll only to find 30 minutes later you only made it to the next block as you ran into someone you know. In time one gets to know just about everyone in the area. That is the charm of a real neighborhood.
It is that true sense of community that makes days such as this so pleasurable. After all a parade is great. But a parade made up of folks we know and care about is even better.
All parades, as we know, have one thing in common. That is young boys looking for candy. I thought these two were the best examples of many that I saw today.
Everyone loves the ‘bubble-mobile’!
In the end the Willy Street Fair and Parade is all about folks coming together. I think the next pictures make that point.