Gold Cup parade features 113 entries
To see more photos from the Gold Cup Parade see Page 9 of Saturday's print edition or CLICK HERE
© Guardian photo
The Cheshire Cat was one of the giant inflatables to take part in this year's Gold Cup parade. This year the balloons were filled with air, due to a world helium shortage.
The weather forecast earlier this week had not been promising.
And an overcast sky early Friday morning hinted at the possibility that even more rain might be on the way.
But almost as if on que the sun began to spill through the clouds, casting a golden glow over this year's Gold Cup Parade and the thousands of people who lined the parade route.
Parade officials had promised one of the best parades ever and did their best to deliver.
To mark the 125th anniversary of Old Home Week they had chosen "Bringing the Farm to the City" as the theme of this year's parade and many of those involved seemed to take that theme to heart.
Floats throughout the parade depicted rural scenes.
There were singing farmhands, dancing vegetables and animated livestock.
Some floats even boasted live farm animals, albeit in cages.
And in most cases the music blaring from speakers on the various floats was good old-fashioned country music, from John Denver's Thank God I'm A Country Boy to the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies.
The hillbillies themselves even made an appearance.
There were brass bands, pipe bands and majorettes.
There were vintage trucks and tractors, stock cars, custom vehicles and novelty vehicles, including a self-propelled football helmet, courtesy of the Holland College Hurricanes.
There were fiddlers and stepdancers, kneeslappers and footstompers.
It was, in many ways, like one big old country fair on wheels.
The only thing missing was an animated potato salad and perhaps some dancing beans.
Like any summer parade in P.E.I. there are always surprises.
How about Snow White and the Seven.... Oysters?
Or Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Wicked Witch of the West, on hand to promote Confederation Centre's upcoming Christmas production of the Wizard Of Oz.
You don't see many car ferries on dry land but Northumberland Ferries Ltd. managed to come up with one, manned by retiring Capt. David White.
There was something for everybody, from cartoon characters and children's television stars for the youngest parade viewers to the Community Clash whose antics and attire are a continual source of delight for the rest of us.
With well over 100 entries in the parade it took more than an hour-and-a-half for the parade to pass any one point, but no one was paying attention to the clock, cheering and applauding all and sundry.
And no one seemed to generate more applause than Olympic sprinter Jared Connaughton, who was also in the parade.
There was a heartfelt burst of applause as well for a small but proud contingent of Canadian war veterans who adorned another float.
And of course there are always cheers for the Gold Cup and Saucer Ambassadors.