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Chuck Brooks' column: No matter the date, parade will be a good time

Change is not something people handle well. I’m no different. Change rocks my world. I’m better at creating traditions and routines than I am at handling changes inconspicuously. This weekend brings a change in an annual event here in Rosemount. The annual Leprechaun Days parade. My sources tell me some people haven’t adjusted well to the change. This year, instead of being at the end of the festive week, it will kick off a weeklong list of activities for our community.

It makes no difference to me. I simply make sure I schedule my summer life, so I can announce the parade each year.

Regardless of the change, the parade represents one of those local celebrations special to a community. Apple Valley has its Fourth of July parade, but it brings in many obser-vers from multiple surrounding communities. I’ve noticed most of the people in attendance at the Leprechaun Days parade are local folk. And that’s part of what makes this parade special as well as this community.

It’s maybe been five years now since I was asked to announce this parade. It started simply enough. Someone on the Leprechaun Days committee, who was once an employee at Rosemount High School but had since moved to another school in the district, recommended I be asked to announce the parade since he was familiar with some of what I had done over the years at school with the microphone. The man who had been announcing the parade was going to be recognized that year as the Grand Marshall of the parade. Something told me this wouldn’t be a one-time gig. I was right. Is that a bad thing? Certainly not.

Parades are a great way for communities to pull together to celebrate who they are as a community. Last weekend in my hometown, they held their annual summer parade celebrating Lake Days. It came complete with fireworks for two nights. In that same community, they celebrate Christmas every first Saturday night of December with a parade. I have never been able to attend, but a few years ago my sister connected with me via FaceTime, and I was able to watch some of the parade through the magic of technology. It was definitely a small town parade.

In the community where my parents grew up, every year on the Sunday closest to St. Patrick’s Day, they celebrate, in all their glory, what it is to be Irish. My parents used to love attending that parade. It came down Main Street, the only street in downtown Fox Lake. They’d go to the American Legion “establishment” early that morning to claim their seats. Then, they’d partake in the pull-tabs and the food. Because it was their birthplace and where they grew up, it was also old home week for one afternoon. Many of their friends and relatives would appear. It was, in some ways, a family reunion for us. It never seemed like it took a lot to pass the requirement test to be a part of this parade. And regardless of the weather in mid-March, the parade went on. Even years after Mom and Dad have been gone, my siblings still attend.

There’s nothing like a summer parade. I know as I sit at the announcer’s table come this Saturday morning, I shall see our school’s marching band, and the football team, and the volleyball team, and the list goes on. I’ll see parents in the parade. I’ll see former students who will stop by my table to simply say hi. It will be what makes a small town parade special. It will be a celebration of the community. Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate and people will be grilling and sitting outside on their front lawns as the parade moves down the main drag. I know at some point, I’ll pause to think about how quickly summer is progressing and, six months from now, how different that spot on the street where I sit will look.

Whether it’s this Saturday to kick off the week or the next Saturday to put an exclamation mark on the week that was, the parade will be a success, and all who participate in it as well as those who attend it will have a great time. Of this, I am certain. And Rosemount will be one brick sturdier for having celebrated who we are as a community once again.

With the Fourth behind us and this parade soon to be a memory, it leaves one county and one state fair to attend before Labor Day marks an end to.

How about we cross that bridge when we get there?

Happy Leprechauns Week, Rosemount!