Why do we march?

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Contributing Editor

Walter W. Pickut

Because we love a parade!

We love watching and marching—the beating-of-feet on the bricks and high-stepping our way down Main Street. But why?

Just because we love to, that’s all. Who needs a better reason than that? And every year about this time we come up with some of our very best reasons to launch a bunch more parades.

Take the upcoming holiday season, for instance. We’ve already heard about at least a dozen Holiday-Thanksgiving-Christmas parades in and around the three home counties of the Jamestown Gazette—Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Warren. Check this week’s Cover Story by contributor Joni Blackman for a complete rundown on some of the very best around.

So, what makes for a good parade? The answer is surely not its subtlety. Great parades are all about exuberant, lavish, extravagance—and lots of hometown pride.

Just think about some of these famous, giant parades…

  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – It’s said to be the world’s largest one. Two million happy gawkers line New York City’s streets every year to watch a cavalcade of massive floats and a flotilla of superhero balloons parade through Manhattan.
  • Mardi Gras – “Fat Tuesday” – in New Orleans – It’s so big it takes two weeks to get it all in because it’s really a whole bunch of parades with a million and a half costumed partiers marching down Bourbon Street.
  • Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade – In Dublin they say nobody throws a bigger party than the Irish. And their week-long St. Patrick’s Day celebration by nearly a million people crowding into the streets, topped off with the parade in Dublin, is truly like no other.

But does it really take a million people to make a parade? Here, we live in smaller communities. Our cities are more like towns, and our towns are crowned by villages and rural hamlets. Yet I think that’s reason enough, and more, for a kind of pride and extravagance no big city can match.

A huge metropolis can do anything. With millions of people to draw from, what can’t be done, even with millions of others just watching.

But here at home, we’re all on the home team, the front lines of our own communities, where home is never far from downtown and downtown is never far from home.

What is done and accomplished is done as well here as anywhere, but usually by somebody you know, or somebody rarely more distant than a friend of a friend or their neighbor.

That’s why we go to parades. We’re not gawking at something so spectacular that it’s alien, so enormous that it’s anonymous, or so polished that only the products of a dozen multi-national mega-plants could have built it.

We know the people on the floats, the firefighters on the trucks, and the local folks marching along with them who run our towns, schools, and police stations. Our holiday parades are a tapestry of the personal connections that hold us all together.

This week we’re relaying two of the region’s special invitations to our readers:

  • Randolph NY’s “Light Up the Night” Christmas parade, 7:30pm, Friday, December 2nd, immediately followed by the traditional and beloved Memory Tree Lighting, and then Saturday’s always popular Randolph Central School Craft Show and gift-shopping opportunity.
  • Jamestown, NY’s 2022 “Season of Joy” Christmas Parade, 6:00pm on Saturday, December 3. Collaborative Children’s Solutions is once again hosting the parade for Jamestown’s 2022 Holiday Parade. This year’s theme is: “Bring what brings you joy” and share your joy all around.

So please accept the Jamestown Gazette’s invitation to go see, wave at, and even march with what the world’s biggest parades simply can’t offer—the friends and neighbors you know.

That’s why we love our hometown parades.

A happy holiday season to all our readers from your Jamestown Gazette. Enjoy the read!

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.