When I tell my daughters we are going to get up extra early for something, they always ask the same question: 'Will there be doughnuts?'
When I tell my daughters we are going to get up extra early for something, they always ask the same question: "Will there be doughnuts?"
Sometimes I don't realize the effect I have on my children. But this response is definitely my fault.
"Well, yes," I replied. "But more importantly, it's the big parade downtown."
"Will there be candy?" my oldest daughter asked. Her little sister put her hand on her arm to indicate that she, too, was about to ask that question.
"No," I replied. "It's the Hall of Fame parade, the big one, with all of the floats."
They nodded at me then to each other with big smiles.
I am a huge fan of the annual Canton Repository Grand Parade, and not only because I work at the newspaper. It is my favorite of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival events.
Heading home from work the Friday before the parade, I get excited to see the chairs staking out spots along the 2-mile-plus route.
On the day of the parade, Canton is electric, which I think is hard to find just about anywhere so early in the morning. Everyone is friendly and accommodating. And you won't find a cleaner city than Canton on Enshrinement Day.
When my oldest was about 2 years old, she called it the "Sesame Street parade," because of the huge character balloons from the TV show.
One year, she held her nose as the large Oscar the Grouch balloon neared our spot.
"I bet it'll be stinky," she said. When I promised it wouldn't be, she still held her nose closed, "just in case."
That same year, Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris pointed her out in the crowd and gave a wave just to her. She couldn't understand why I was so happy about this even after I explained the "Immaculate Reception," and how he was part of the reason why her grandpa gave her a Terrible Towel when she was born.
Every year there's something new to enjoy. Last year, it became know to my daughters as "the giant potato parade" thanks to the float from Idaho.
For me though, the best part isn't the new stuff, it's the same things that happen every year, like watching the people decked out in football fan gear and watching the balloon crews try to navigate power lines.
We join in with everyone else to yell, "Spin it!" at the giant balloons heading up Cleveland Avenue until the people pulling the ropes finally relent and spin the float around in a circle. And we applaud loudly.
Mostly though, my favorite part is spending it with my wife and daughters. It has become a tradition for us.
Plus, the doughnuts are pretty good, too.
Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @DaveManley