Scrap Story #5: Parade

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scrap Elephant

The Scrap Exchange loves a parade.

People sometimes jokingly refer to having a parade thrown in their honor — especially if they’re feeling undervalued, “Hey man, if I did that anywhere else they’d be having a parade for me!” — but The Scrap Exchange does this literally, makes signs and puts on hats and marches around banging drums and blowing horns and saying “Hooray for [YOU]!”

(In fact, Ann was working on the business plan for this a few years ago, she wants to offer it as a fee-for-service program. If you want to do something really special for someone, you can hire The Scrap Exchange to put on a parade in their honor. We still have some details to work out on that before it goes live, but we think it has potential.)

In addition to our own little parades, we participated in a number of Durham Holiday Parades before that unique and fun activity was unceremoniously dumped from the budget last year and replaced by some kind of lame street festival. (I can’t recall exactly what it was replaced with, I just know there’s no more parade.)

The Scrap Exchange in the Durham Holiday Parade was definitely a spectacle.

We built floats out of materials we had on hand and people got dressed up in crazy outfits and we carried a big Scrap Exchange banner and marched through the streets. There were all these really sharp floats, people in cars, marching bands in slick uniforms and then … The Scrap Exchange. Welcome to Durham.

The Scene of the Crime Rovers marched with us and they are a spectacle all by themselves — you don’t often see a marching band wearing hot pink and black outfits with a big pirate logo on their chest.

We’d all march together and scattered among us would be people carrying signs that said “HO!.” Every now and then the band would stop and we’d march in place and people would hold up their signs and shout HO! … HO! … HO! HO! HO!

One year we did a Winter Wonderland theme, I think we did a Mardi Gras theme one year, and then in 2009, the last year of the parade, we did a Circus theme.

Clearly the Circus theme had a lot of potential and I think we really maximized it.

Ann decided she wanted to be an elephant. I wasn’t convinced she was going to be able to pull it off, sometimes her vision exceeds the capacity available, but this one they actually managed to make work.

They made a head with a foam trunk and big foam ears, and used PVC pipe to make a frame that they draped gray fabric over. The eyes were two vinyl LPs with CDs in the center. They found a string of beads to drape over the head, it looked like it was in an Indian wedding party or something. It was fabulous.

Ann and our friend Anne Gregory (who are both tall, and close to the same height, key elements in marching together as an elephant in a parade), walked inside carrying the frame. We had an elephant trainer to walk with them (they really couldn’t see anything and it was tough to walk at all much less navigate an entire parade route) and someone walking behind them with a bucket dropping fake elephant poop on the ground and scooping it up with great ceremony.

Our Board President was the Human Cannonball — there was something on wheels that looked like a cannon that someone was pulling, every 20 yards or they’d stop and Jenna would crouch down and pretend to be launched out of it.

We had some Scene of the Crime Rovers with us, they’d play and then stop and we’d march in place and shout HO! … HO! … HO! HO! HO!

The weather was miserable, it was 40 degrees and raining. I’m pretty sure there were more people marching in the parade than there were watching it.

It was awesome.

My friend Cathy was in town that weekend and she and her little guy marched with us. (Well, he partly marched and partly was carried, I think Cath was happier than anyone to get to the end of that parade route.) It was definitely a memorable experience.

The funny thing is that Cath met a whole bunch of Scrap Exchange people at the parade, and when she met them, they were all in costume. So when I’m telling her stories about Scrap things and she’s trying to place the person and figure out if she knows them, she’ll say, “What were they in the parade?” And I’ll think for a second and usually come up with it.

So now when I’m telling a story, sometimes I’ll just give that information first. I’ll say something about Jenna, “You know Jenna, she was the Human Cannonball” or Nicole the giraffe, or Katherine the elephant pooper scooper.

It’s like we’ve all acquired a permanent identity as our circus character from the 2009 Durham Holiday Parade.

Somehow it seems fitting.

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Help! The Scrap Exchange Needs YOU!

Visit the Scrap Exchange website for full details on our fundraiser, or to make a tax-deductible, online donation through PayPal or Network for Good.

Rather go old school? Checks can be made payable to The Scrap Exchange and mailed to 923 Franklin St, Bay 1, Durham, NC 27701.

One Response to “Scrap Story #5: Parade”


  1. “before that unique and fun activity was unceremoniously dumped from the budget last year and replaced by some kind of lame street festival.”

    Oh, you mean CenterFest?

    No, waitaminute… that went from a unique and fun Durham-centric community activity to a lame parking lot festival long before this.

    Nevermind.

    (But, what were you dressed up as in the 2009 parade?)

    Tom


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