Gold Cup Parade makes wet journey through Charlottetown

Published on August 15, 2014

Rain, at times heavy.

Winds strong enough to turn umbrellas inside out.

Not the kind of weather organizers of this year's Gold Cup Parade were hoping for.

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Still, people came out in droves, armed with umbrellas, rain jackets, rubber boots and the determination to stick it out.

And most of them did.

Their perseverance was rewarded with a parade which, while shorter than usual, still managed to generate the kind of excitement people have come to expect from the Gold cup Parade.

Just a little less of it.

There were marching bands, majorettes, vintage vehicles, gaily decorated floats, singers, dancers, fairy tale characters and sports heroes.

For the wee ones in the crowd, everything was worthy of applause but the smiles truly came out for Dora the Explorer and a bigger-than-life inflatable version of Sesame Street favourite, the Cookie Monster.

"It was worth getting wet to see the reaction on my daughter's face when she saw Dora the Explorer," said Euclid LeBlanc, of Memramcook, N.B. "Dora is her idol."

This year's parade celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 and those participating in the parade took that to heart.

So numerous were the would-be Fathers of Confederation in the parade, one might assume that there wasn't a false beard, top hat or morning coat left to be had in the city.

People love a parade.

But they love parades for different reasons.

For some loyal parade watchers it's all about the floats.

It's about seeing smiling, happy children in cute costumes bouncing up and down on their respective floats.

It's about seeing veterans on parade, their medals proudly worn, and applauding their contribution to the preservation of freedom and democracy as their float rolls by.

It's about the Gold Cup ambassadors, waving from their convertibles, flashing big smiles, even when the rain is pelting down on them as it was Friday.

It's about seeing local radio personalities have a little fun with each other and with the crowd.

For others, like Emmett MacDonald, of Murray River, it's about the bands.

"Pipe bands, brass bands, I love them all, been that way since I saw my first parade in Souris when I was a kid," MacDonald said. "This parade has had some great ones. I miss the big drum and bugle corps they used to have from the United States years ago but the new band this year from Burlington was pretty darn good. And I always get a kick out of the Clash band. They look to be having a lot of fun."

In the end it's all about fun, because if you can't have fun during Old Home Week on P.E.I., something's wrong.

This year's parade is now a memory, and a soggy one at that.

But it won't be long before work begins on next year's edition, when, it is hoped, the weather will be a little more favourable.

Patrick Smith, left, and Lincoln Cudmore watch with excitement as this year's Gold Cup Parade passes by, staying dry under their umbrella. Hundreds of people lined the streets of Charlottetown to watch the parade. 

©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel