Sunday, September 2, 2007

About parades, the Midwest, and Milan, Ohio

Now, the way you say Milan is MY-lan, not mah-LAN, like in Italy, because believe me,you are not there.
No, Milan, Ohio, is about 20 miles south of Lake Erie, and its big claim to fame is being The Birthplace of Thomas Edison. Little house. Nice tour.
If I were writing an historical blog, I would also mention that Milan used to be the biggest shipping port in the country, because of a canal that ran between it and Lake Erie. The canal is long gone--as dead as Edison.
Here's another cool thing about Milan, though--they have one damn good festival. With one fun parade.
I don't know if melons of any type are even grown around Milan anymore, but the festival doesn't care--it's the Milan Melon Festival, and it may be the only place in the universe where you can get both watermelon sherbet and cantaloupe ice cream.
Milan has a little town square that's usually quiet and green, with some benches, and big trees, and a gazebo. During the festival, it's hot and noisy and crowded and full of food vendors and ringed by rides and craft tents and music, and it's all wonderful.
We always go up on Sunday to have festival food for lunch (for the record: bloomin' onion, fresh corn on the cob, and a cantaloupe ice cream cone) and watch the parade.
The parade is a cacophony of bands and baton troops and church floats, firetruck sirens and horns blaring.
And all the royalty of northern Ohio festival shows up, from the basket queen from Berlin Heights to the Dam Festival Queen of Monroeville to the Port Clinton Walleye Festival Queen. All there, dressed in their royal best, slowing waving to the admiring crowds.
And we waved back, in between standing up a dozen times for the veteran groups and color guards, marching by with the flag.
And who got the biggest crowd reaction? I think it was a tie...between the Ohio State University float (was that a real cheerleader on there?) and Spongebob.
Well, how about you? Did you enjoy a visit from a TV cartoon character this weekend?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I started the Monroeville Dam Festival my senior year of high school and this year's festival is the 3rd annual fest the 3rd weekend in June from the 20-22 2008. Hope to see you there. ANd about the Ohio State Float, yes, the cheerleader is a real Ohio State Cheerleader, I graduated with her and she is one of my best friends!