Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
This year marked the fifth time my wife and I attended the Indy 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis. It’s an annual date-day tradition for us — partly to see the floats and high school marching bands, partly for the famous names (even if the rest of the audience loves them more than we do), and partly because I love the sight of a bustling downtown Indianapolis (which needs to happen every single weekend ever).
The next six entries (to be posted over the next few days as quickly as time and attention span permit) represent a fraction of the pics my wife and I snapped.
The miniseries finale, then: stuff set aside from Parts 1-5. Center of attention in this batch: Star Wars! A bevy of costumed citizens from George Lucas’ far, faraway galaxy marched alongside the Speedway 500 Regiment, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood 501st Legion. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an Indy 500/501st crossover, but anytime these two teams care to collaborate is fine by us.
(As always, photos are clickable for enlargement and resolution and such.)
In this corner: Lord Vader and the Empire. The parade was allowed on their authority only because it pleased the Emperor.
And in this corner: the Jedi Council, the Rebel Alliance, and all the good and just peoples of the galaxy.
The sacred MacGuffin that lay between both sides of the war: the Borg-Warner Trophy, to be awarded to the winner of the Indy 500. An inflatable replica appeared in Part 4 of this miniseries, but this was the real McCoy.
To back up that one Princess Leia in the lineup, the parade brought its own team of 500 Princesses.
The streets of Indianapolis had no room for X-Wings or TIE Fighters or even an awkward AT-ST. The Indianapolis 500 Shrine Club has no spaceships, but they brought their tiny racecars. They were much less likely to crash than the average Imperial vehicle.
Faster and better armed: LETTER COPS! IN COLOR! Their team’s assortment of letters spelled “INDIANAPOLIS 500” when they rode in unison, but at other events and speaking engagements, some of them can band together and spell helpful words such as “DIAL SOAP” or “PIANO LAD” or “PANDA LION”.
Also representing for the long arm of the law: local mounted police, riding steeds far more majestic than those CG monitor lizards George Lucas insisted had to be inserted into the original trilogy for the sake of creative narrative integrity.
Also escorted by horses: the folks at Wells Fargo, who even brought their own stagecoach to help the Alliance run those pesky Imperial varmints outta town.
Here to save the day in their own inimitable style: representatives from local community group Ballet Folklorico Mosaicos. This is a smaller organization than the Nationalities Council we saw in Part 5, but with shared goals and parade approaches.
…and they weren’t alone. They brought their fiercest warriors, more than ready to take on any other cosplaying team in a no-holds-barred steel-cage parade match. Or lightsaber battle, maybe. Whatever they were better armed to do. Dealer’s choice.
At one point the parade came to a full stop for a long minute or two. The Speedway band and this royal Who’s Who in the Star Wars Universe was paused just beyond us, waiting for the delay to be resolved so that the show might go on. Some may have thought their day was over and were ready to throw in the towel. But not this hardy X-Wing Pilot, steeling his resolve and fully preparing to role-model patience and stoicism for us meek onlookers, proving we could get through this thing if we all just believed we could do it.
And then the parade moved on and the day was saved, thanks to the mighty 501st Legion! Basically.
Meanwhile around us, fans recorded the event for prosperity using every available device at their disposal — phones, real cameras, expensive cameras with professional settings, cumbersome iPads, tablets, laptops, personal satellites, whatever it took to record everything for their followers and family.
A few lone wolves sat back with nothing in hand and simply watched the parade with their human eyes. Weird, right?
Not that we’re faultless. My wife and I try to strike a healthy balance between experiencing the experience as it happens, and taking momentary souvenirs to bring home when our memories begin to fail us in future decades. And it’s not just for ourselves. It’s for any auto racing fans out there with a double-majorig interest in pageantry; for locals who love seeing hometown celebrities out-‘n’-about; for community organizations who benefit from any kind of public coverage; for any parent who has a young musician in one of this year’s marching bands and couldn’t travel to Indianapolis to watch their big moment in person; and for anyone who knows us personally and has some secret, silent curiosity about how we spend our free time as a couple.
We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.
The End. See you next year!
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Links to the other chapters in this annual MCC miniseries are listed below. Thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to mention these to millions of your closest friends:
Part 1: Drivers!
Part 2: Marching Bands!
Part 3: This Year’s Guests
Part 4: Floats and Balloons
Part 5: The Nationalities Council