Remember the old Sesame Street song that says “these are the people in your neighbourhood?”
Well, that may be the best way to describe yesterday’s Natal Day Parade, held to help cap off a long weekend celebrating birthdays of communities on both sides of the harbour.
From the friendly faces on the floats and the bagpipers who marched to the beat, to the police officers directing traffic and the residents who lined the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth, it was a virtual “who’s who” of the municipality.
“That’s the town crier!” Neil Prokop of Fairview told his five-year-old son Benjamin, as the parade made its way down Gottingen Street in Halifax and prepared to cross the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge to Dartmouth.
“In the olden days, Benjamin, he used to ring a bell and give important messages because they didn’t have newspapers and television like they do today,” he explained.
Prokop said it’s important to attend events such as the Natal Day Parade because “it’s a part of our history, it’s a part of our heritage, and we don’t do enough of that today.”
Halifax’s longtime town crier Peter Cox died in March, but an HRM report says Bedford’s town crier Stuart MacMillan was to fill in for this year’s parade, part of the 114th festivities.
Sarah Rondeaux, 5, watched with wide eyes as a couple of four-legged animals clomped her way. “Look, there’s two horses!” she told mom Nancy Rondeaux.
Dad Fred Rondeaux said yesterday’s parade provided “a great opportunity to take the kids outside and have some family time.”
But it wasn’t just small children who had smiles on their faces. Karine McGregor, 62, of Parrsboro was so giddy that she broke out into a jig as a float carrying an upbeat band rolled by.
“I’m not from here but I love it!” she said. “It brings people together.”