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Published: Sunday, 12/4/2005

Candy and holiday cheer reign at E. Toledo parade

BY JENNI LAIDMAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Children hold up their bags for catching or gathering candy tossed during the East Toledo Christmas Parade. Children hold up their bags for catching or gathering candy tossed during the East Toledo Christmas Parade.
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Brownies from Troop 919 joined other groups, Shriners, and floats in the East Toledo parade. Brownies from Troop 919 joined other groups, Shriners, and floats in the East Toledo parade.
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Just 20 minutes after the Korean War Color Guard led the 34th East Toledo Christmas Parade past the grandstand on Main Street, it was all over but the sweet smell of candy being smashed in the street by the resuming traffic.

Santa was on his way to the Waite High School Skill Center parking lot with the rest of the Scouts, fez-wearing Shriners, marching dogs, nondancing dancers, Harley riders, high school bands, a seven-foot squirrel, and a covey of hairdressers riding in the bed of a pickup truck.

With a temperature that refused to budge out of the high 20s, 20 minutes was about perfect.

Before the parade, 7-year-old Brittany Wooley, wrapped in a knee-length red down parka, three shirts, a hat, gloves, and jeans, sat on a folding chair covered in leopard-print fabric, waiting for the parade to begin.

The Sacred Heart student was there with her siblings, Courtney, 6, and Robert, 3, with one thing on her mind: "Candy!"

The Nevada Street family tries to attend the parade every year depending "on how the weather is,'' said the children's dad, Robert Wooley.

He said they decided to brave the temperature because there was no wind.

Judy Robbins of East Toledo sat alone near Main and Second streets with a blanket over her knees, a novel in her hands, and a video camera at the ready to capture her 11-year-old son Kyle's first participation in a parade with the Cub Scouts.

She was surprised she got such a good seat so easily.

"It used to be a real big deal when I was a kid. We had to get here real early."

By the time Cardinal Stritch High School marching band played "Jingle Bells" to the steady beat of a bass drum, the sidewalks were filling up.

"I love you guys!" Steven Toth shouted to the Cardinal Stritch performers, calling out every name he knew, which was pretty much everybody except the freshmen, the Cardinal Stritch senior said.

Even after his classmates had moved along down Main, Mr. Toth's enthusiasm remained intact.

"Go Library!" he shouted to a library vehicle before racing Steve Waldvogel into the downpour of Tootsie Rolls from the next vehicle.

Brittany, Courtney, and Robert Wooley, in the meantime, were more modest in their candy-collecting pursuits, taking what came to them directly and ignoring the treats that scattered in front of them on the street.

Like most of the younger kids, they followed the instructions coming over the loudspeaker to stay out of the street and out of the way of oncoming parade vehicles.

When the men from the Zenobia Shrine weaved and looped in their tiny but sporty red cars - the foot-long tassels of their fezzes blowing behind them - that was probably good advice.

"Oh! They almost hit!" shouted Devonte Hughes at the Shriner's antics. The 13-year-old student at Birmingham Elementary School and his friend, Ronnie Temple, 12, of Raymer Elementary School, weren't letting any candy get by, scooping up what they could whenever the street was clear.

But up and down Main, there was candy everywhere. The space in front of Tim Brown's kids was a rare exception.

His Cutter Street trio, Bailey, 9; Patrick, 11, and Logan Adkins, 8, didn't miss a Sweet Tart.

"I've been harping on 'em," Mr. Brown joked. "For free candy, they better be out there."

While "Jingle Bell Rock" played the second time from a trailer beside the grandstand, the parade ended. Families packed up children with runny noses and headed for home.

Main Street filled up with traffic. The police drove away.

And two boys walked the curb, collecting as much candy as they could before the cars could pulverize it.

Contact Jenni Laidman at: jenni@theblade.com or 419-724-6507.



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