Warmth and sunshine — a welcome respite from the dreary weather of the past few weeks on campus — marked the 10th annual Big Parade and Festival on Saturday, May 7. Preparation began early in the morning for the town-wide event, which, in addition to the parade, included music, free food, a moonbounce and other family-friendly activities.
The parade began at Eastwood Elementary School and ended in Tappan Square, where the post-parade festivities were conducted. College students and townspeople of all ages lined the streets to see the dozen-or-so homemade parade floats, decorated bikes and the intricate costumes designed by College students and community members alike.
There was plenty of variety in the types of floats and costumes. Representatives from Oberlin College Taiko, OCircus!, Kendall’s Precision Lawn Chair Drill Team and Oberlin High School Art Club — along with their floats — took their places in the lineup alongside a Viking ship, a dragon and a giant caterpillar.
The Oberlin students who started this community-wide collaborative arts event were originally part of the Bike Co-op, and it was the community involvement from that organization that led to the formation of the Big Parade in 2002. It has been growing ever since.
Some of the community members have been participating in the event since it began nine years ago and devote several days of work toward building their floats each year: “It really is a labor of love,” stated one such participant about the process of building his ship — a statement that could easily be used to describe the Big Parade itself.