A Family Affair – 4th on 53rd Parade & Picnic

By JOANN FASTOFF BLACKMAN
4th on 53rd Parade & Picnic Correspondent

Families get together for a number of annual events: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. However, when you throw in the idea of attending a parade – well, maybe not so much.

But for many folks who regularly attend parades with their families they’ll say “it’s all about the memories”. For example, “remember the time it rained so hard and everybody was drenched and then suddenly the sun came out and your clothing quickly dried but was terribly wrinkled and …blah, blah, blah.”

Or, “Remember when granddad was kissed by one of the grand marshals at the parade and he stuck his tongue out at grandma and she…yadda, yadda, yadda.”

Yeah…those kinds of memories.

Other families who have regularly attended Hyde Park’s 4th on 53rd Parade & Picnic, say it’s about establishing tradition.

Lotus Brown, now 75 and a long-time Hyde Parker, reminisced about bringing her daughter and three sons to the parade for the first time 20 years ago. Now her grown children are bringing their children to the parade. “This parade is always so wonderful” Lotus says with a smile. “I don’t get to see my children and grandchildren as often as I like but I can always count on seeing all of them at this parade. My children were in love with the balloons and entertainers, but my grandchildren absolutely love the horses.”

Larry Anderson, 72, brought his dog Nala to the parade for 15 straight years. “Nala loved this parade because she loved walking in it” he said. “She was such a princess. Unfortunately she passed away last year, and I wasn’t really sure if I would attend the parade this year without her – she was family. But, God always makes a way and brought me a new dog named Lance, so we might be attending. You never know.”

Kim Moore says she was “dragged” to her first 4th on 53rd Parade five years ago by her dad Wallace Goode. Now she’s dragging her kids. Her youngest son has been going for about three years and Kim says it is exciting to see all the people on the sidelines with family-friendly music blaring, entertainment and giveaways. “The last couple of years I walked in the parade with a stroller” Kim says. “It’s fun to see strangers waving from the sidelines, and of course you also see people you know.” Her brother was feeling especially festive last year when he wore long, skinny, red, white and blue balloons that were attached to him like a peacock – “I would have been embarrassed but it was great fun!” Kim and her husband Dex like the community support and admit the parade is a perfect size – “not that big, or very long; nice and small and so it doesn’t drag on.” Kim enjoys the horses and also the idea “that families, old and young people, all kinds of people, stake out their chairs, even though there are plenty of spaces for people to secure a great view.” Kim says the parade and picnic are both great, which is why her family keeps coming back.

Joyce Feuer, former owner of Joyce’s Hallmark Store in Hyde Park, has been attending the parade since its inception 25 years ago. “I think these types of events should be supported by the community” she said. “People should not have to leave their neighborhood for family entertainment which basically costs only pennies. The 4th on 53rd Parade & Picnic is a nice social function for the neighborhood. My husband and I, along with our children, have attended for years and now our grandchildren attend. My family has come full circle.”

Eighteen years ago Joyce asked her then young son to carry a flag in the parade and he balked because his friends were on the sidelines where he too wanted to be. She made him carry it anyway. A couple of years ago Joyce and her late father were looking at some old pictures and she happened across the one of her son carrying the flag in the parade. Right behind him in the picture was the Junior Senator from Illinois – Barack Obama – pushing little Malia in a stroller. Of course Joyce’s son says he now forgives her but wants the picture. Fat chance.

The 4th on 53rd Parade & Picnic – Memories.Tradition.Family.