Oops…I missed a day of the the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Good thing we get Sundays off so I can catch up. Here are some photos from the Jamaica Plain Regan Youth League opening day festivities, where “S” is for “Season Opener.”
Some photo highlights from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Central Park West this morning.
Spring descended on Jamaica Plain this past weekend with the annual Wake Up the Earth Festival presented by Spontaneous Celebrations. This was the 35th annual festival, an event that grew out of the “highway revolt” of the 1960s & 70s when local activists opposed the construction of highway infrastructure in Jamaica Plain & Roxbury, leading to the creation of the Southwest Corridor as a system of train lines, bike paths, and parks that we enjoy today. Ironically, some people who want to create new prioritized highway infrastructure for cars marched in this year’s parade which I guess shows that this festival takes all kinds. The festival itself was home to many tents of activists of many causes, food, games, and musical performances. My family and I sang a few songs with the intergenerational chorus SingPositive, JP in preparation for our concert on May 19th. We also danced to Maaak Pelletier’s jam band the Mystical Misfits as they played Grateful Dead classics. Finally, the potato sack slide down the hillside was great fun for everyone.
Some photos from back on May 5th when Spontaneous Celebrations presented its annual Wake Up the Earth Festival in Jamaica Plain. This year we not only watched the parade but my son and I also participated in the festival, performing with Sing Positive JP.
Here’s a sample of our chorus’ singing:
Today, Jamaica Plain woke up the earth at the annual festival sponsored by Spontaneous Celebrations. I took my son to soccer practice this morning and afterward we biked to Centre St to watch the parade. Stilt-walkers, bicyclists, drummers, dancers and lots of bunnies starred in the procession. After the parade passed, my son wanted to follow on our bike. I got a bit frustrated with the stop & go and having to put my foot down all the time so I took a shortcut to Stony Brook. There we were able to watch the parade arrive at the festival where all the participants formed a circle with much rhythmic drumming and swaying. The stilt-walkers and puppets were a little scary for Peter but it was cool to feel the drumbeats reverberating in the soil. With a storm and naptime approaching we pedaled home but enjoyed a fun morning.
Some photos from today’s 31st annual Wake Up the Earth parade and festival, the annual celebration of…well, I don’t know what, but it’s very fun and very JP. Spontaneous Celebrations is the organization behind the festival that dates back to the days of (successfully) opposing the construction of I-95 through Jamaica Plain and Roxbury.
The parade featured stilt-walkers, dragons, twirlers, puppets, marching bands, drummers, and lots of kids in strollers. We followed the parade from the Loring Greenough House all the way down Centre Street to Lamartine Street to the field by Stony Brook Station. We were just one of the many families pushing strollers down the street. It’s fun to be in a parade.
There was lots of music, activity and social activism at the festival. We were particularly fond of the taiko drummers of Odaiko New England. If they didn’t wake up the earth, I don’t know what will!
We had a blast and will definitely return next year.
Today Susan, Peter & I attended the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Holyoke, MA which is the second largest parade in the country after New York. I’m something of a connoisseur of St. Patrick’s Day parades having gone to New York almost annually growing up, South Boston a couple of times in the late 90’s, and the Dublin extravaganza in 2002 so I’ve been meaning to check out Holyoke for some time.
I have to say I was impressed. The parade was typical of St. Patrick’s Day parades in featuring lots of firefighters, police, military personnel and pipe & drum bands among its participants. Oh how I love pipe & drum bands! There was a strong local feel as high school marching bands and community groups from Holyoke and surrounding municipalities enthusiastically participated as did at least two high school hockey teams who claimed to be 2009 state champions. What was really great about the Holyoke parade is that St. Patrick is not exclusively Irish as many participants and spectators represented every culture and ethnicity that lives in the area. One of my favorite floats featured steel drums and was sponsored by a Puerto Rican community organization.
As I posted on St. Patrick’s Day, I have fond memories of attending the NYC parade as a child so it was fun to watch how my 16-month-old son Peter enjoyed the parade. At first he seemed confused by the whole thing but he soon got into the swing of things waving at the participants, clapping and dancing to the steel drums. A good number of military personnel, firefighters, police, and even the American Red Cross came over to shake Peter’s hand. If this is typical of the attention a cute kid can get at a parade, no wonder I have fond memories of my own childhood.
At the Mass Pike rest area McDonald’s on the way home, we talked with a local couple who spoke enthusiastically about the parade, even if they feel the weather is not always the best. The woman remembered seeing the then Senator John F. Kennedy up close and personal and admiring his handsomeness. The man told us he marched in the parade in the 1970’s. It’s clear to me that Holyoke has a good tradition for celebrating St. Patrick’s and I hope to witness it again in future years.