Do we need the parade?
For all of its meaning to Haliburton, summer is woefully short. In July and August, we all pack in as many experiences as we can and among those is the Rotary parade.
Running for more than 50 years, the parade is one of those traditions we not only look forward to, but that gives summer that warm, glowing feeling: the gleam of the trumpets as the Kawartha Kavaliers march down Highland Street, the giggles in the crowd as they decipher the Scout Reserve’s costumes, the familiar buzz of the bagpipes and stomp of the local dance academy.
Parades are about coming together; of everyone choosing to be in one place at one time and celebrate the fact that we’re here. They’re free, they’re inclusive – especially the Rotary parade, which allows anyone to join in – and they’re joyous.
Now one of our parades might be coming to an end.
The Haliburton Rotary Club is considering shifting its focus to something else, though a specific recommendation hasn’t yet been revealed.
The issue isn’t that people don’t like the parade. On the contrary, it is still well attended during the first Wednesday of August each year.
The problem is that people aren’t participating in the parade as they used to.
If there are fewer available to march in the parade, at what point do you call it quits?
The Rotary Club is looking for public comment on this very question. They’ve asked for feedback on Facebook, but likely would also take phone calls, letters or comments.
At this juncture, the parade is hardly dead. Aside from good attendance numbers, it also still has plenty of floats – though there are fewer than in its heyday.
However, calling off the parade wouldn’t necessarily be the worst thing either.
The Rotary parade is part of a larger day of summer fun. The carnival and fireworks display – both summer traditions in their own right – aren’t changing.
While we don’t know what Rotary has in mind for replacing the parade, you can expect they will come up with something community-centred and based in the village within walking distance of the carnival.
As long as they keep the replacement event in the spirit of the parade, something designed to bring neighbours together to enjoy the beauty of the summer in Haliburton, perhaps the sting of losing a tradition will be lessened.
The point of the parade is to bring people together. That can be done in many ways. Whether Rotary chooses to keep the tradition alive or brings something new to the village, if we keep community at the heart of our summer events, it’s always going to work out fine.