Monday, November 22, 2010

Excelsior Gets Lit

I alluded to Excelsior Springs puttin' on the Ritz and Glitz for the holidays and indeed, they truly did. The shops and restaurants pulled out all the stops and the season got a spectacular kickoff this past weekend. Following the Progressive Taste that I described in the last post, it was time to prep for the lighted Christmas parade and at the last minute I would find out I'd be riding in it with Keith in one of the decorated Elms golf carts. Hanging at the parade lineup was a reminder of just how surreal parade prep can be....

It has been a long time since I was in a parade; dating back to my high school band geek days. Back then, it seemed like every time we marched, we were inevitably placed behind horses of some type. Carrying the big bass drum, I couldn't really see very well and I would manage to stomp right through the horse droppings in my white band shoes every time. Accomplishing that while balancing the drum made for some comedic movements that would be known as the Dung Dance. I never fell but I certainly did some crazy slide steps that would crack up those behind me, particularly my friend Sara, who would inevitably laugh so hard she couldn't play her clarinet.

I realized all these years later that parade lineups are as bizarre as ever. We stood with Tut the Shriner and followed his motorized flying carpet in the parade. I strolled around looking at the entries.....there was a heavy religious presence, including Muppet Nativity scenes and something odd called the Furnace with a dancing Santa and elf(who was one of the banquet servers at the hotel). A live zebra and a hot-air balloon basket shooting thirty foot flames in the air added to the eccentricities. Santa himself would even bear a twist with his Cyber Sleigh....a big, flashy, spinning sleigh complete with actual jet engine in the back. After the parade had marched on, Santa stopped to speak to the family-heavy crowd. Once the street cleared, The Jolly One fired up the jet engine and literally ROARED much so that I envisioned him losing control and actually going airborne, taking out a couple of chimneys on his way before we saw his panicked silhouette sail across the full moon.

This would all lead up to the lighting of the Hall of Waters and the Mayor's Christmas tree. The crowds would then pour into the Hall of Waters to view the Hall of Trees (pictured at the top of the page), featuring beautiful Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations. Delicious homemade cookies made by the culinary students of Job Corps were available for munching while admiring the trees.

I snuck away from that crazy crowd for the more sedate surroundings of Willow Springs for hot chocolate and Broadway and Penn, where I would see this lovely young lady enjoy some Lemon Sunshine cake.

The holidays are upon us....let the madness and spirit begin!


Kristy said...

Tell the truth. You live in Whoville don't you. And that little girl was really Little Cindy Lou Who with a dark wig on. Fabulous!

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