So yesterday I attended the annual Storm Lake Star Spangled Spectacular (we’re heavy on alliteration here in the cornbelt). The parade started at 10:30 and went on for over an hour. In that hour plus, maybe 8 floats went by.* One troupe of horseback riders. One high school band. One gaggle of middle-aged men in Shriner fezzes, driving funnycars. Seven or eight groups of people representing different nationalities, some in traditional dress, which was neat. And the entire rest of the parade was tractors, car dealers, politicians (often also car dealers), and agricultural queens. Oh, and riding lawnmowers moving in synchronized patterns, like square dancers.
The agricultural queens included the Buena Vista County Pork Queen and her court of Pork Princesses,** the Schaller Popcorn Queen, the Buena Vista Fair Queen and Little Miss, and, I believe, a 4-H Queen; I lost count among the all the tractors and politicians.
I’m sure agricultural queens have a long and rich history (seriously) and I don’t want to make too much fun of the traditions of my new hometown. But Pork Princess? Makes me picture Carrie Fisher in white overalls with a breaded chop over each ear.
The parade was ultimately satisfying, however, in a hometown kind of way. EVERYBODY either came to watch the parade or to march in it, and the route went along the lake front. Afterwards, we strolled through the connected lake parks, eating pork burgers and popcorn and funnel cakes.*** The sun was shining, the humidity was low, people were friendly, and a good time was had by me.
*The Iowa Agricultural Authority or some such organization had a float that was a wooden platform with their name painted on the side. That’s it — no plants, no animals, no people, no tissue paper roses. Nothing remotely agricultural, living (or dead), on the platform. I wonder if I’m the only viewer who found that ominous?
**The Pork ladies threw candy to the crowd, like everyone else. Shouldn’t they have been tossing pork rinds, or maybe bacon strips?
***If they need a funnel cake queen**** next year, I’m their gal.
****At my age, I’m really more of a funnel cake dowager. Which is okay, ’cause dowagers get to be eccentric, then crabby, and then we go take a nap.