Indy 500 Festival Parade 2016: Before the Music

DARK THOMAS.

Meanwhile behind the scenes, things were falling apart.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This year marked the sixth time my wife and I attended the Indianapolis 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 and partly because I love the sight of a bustling downtown Indianapolis. 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. In many cases, encores and additional takes of specific subjects may be available if anyone out there is interested in seeing more, or is looking for a loved one who was in one of the many marching bands that day. For first-time MCC visitors, please note my wife and I are relative amateurs, absolutely not trained professional photographers, sharing these from a hobbyist standpoint because fun and joy.

Part 6, the grand finale: hours before the parade began, Anne and I walked up and down Meridian Street and Pennsylvania, the parallel north-south legs of the parade route, to peek behind the curtains at some of the participating teams and objects as they got their acts together before the official proceedings commenced for an adoring, sweating public. I participated in a 500 Festival Parade myself several years ago, but never took much time to look beyond my own group. Until now.

Right this way for a very special MCC miniseries finale!

Indy 500 Festival Parade 2016 Photos #4: Floats and Balloons

Angry Bird Red!

My wife and I are among the six people worldwide who’ve never played any version of Angry Birds, but I think this one’s the main character and his name is J. Reddington Angryshire.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This year marked the sixth time my wife and I attended the Indianapolis 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 and partly because I love the sight of a bustling downtown Indianapolis. 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. In many cases, encores and additional takes of specific subjects may be available if anyone out there is interested in seeing more, or is looking for a loved one who was in one of the many marching bands that day. For first-time MCC visitors, please note my wife and I are relative amateurs, absolutely not trained professional photographers, sharing these from a hobbyist standpoint because fun and joy.

In this entry: the balloons and floats that are an integral component of every worthy large-scale parade. Cartoon characters, celebrations of local corporate concerns, salutes to worthy organizations, and, most importantly, more Angry Birds.

Right this way for someone’s favorite cartoon characters and more!

2015 Road Trip Photos #22: Everything Floats Down Here

Spongebob Squarepants!

Spongebob Squarepants! Spongebob Squarepants! Spongebob Squarepants! Spongey-boooooob Squarepaaaaaaants!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife and I visited Mardi Gras World, a giant-sized warehouse-shaped museum in New Orleans in which floats are constructed, painted, stored, disassembled, reassembled, repainted, reconfigured, and displayed for guests who want to take a long walk through local party-time history.

As promised last time, here’s a sampling of the many heads, bodies, persons, places, and things on display that have entertained generations and enthralled the sober and the drunken alike.

Right this way for famous big heads from Marvel, Star Wars, history, and more!

2015 Road Trip Photos #21: Mardi Gras in July

Mardi Gras Chef!

When it’s Mardi Gras, even the gator and the lobster set aside their differences and party all night together in the same gumbo pot. Meanwhile in the shadows, Burger King bides his time and plots his next sinister move.

When people ’round our parts think “New Orleans”, once they get past the memories of Hurricane Katrina, the next thing that pops into their head is Mardi Gras. Other cities and countries may honor the grand finale of every annual “Carnival” multi-part holiday, but the way it’s talked about, you’d think “Mardi Gras” was French for “New Orleans party”. For all I know, maybe it is.

Anne and I don’t drink, party, observe Carnival, or socialize while our clothes are missing, but we thought it wouldn’t hurt to look into the prettier, safer element of those shindigs: the famous parades and their scintillating floats. So that’s what lured us to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World.

Right this way for an introduction to floating!

Indy 500 Festival Parade 2015 Photos, Part 4 of 6: Floats and Balloons

Shrek!

The super-sized avatar of Mike Myers brings you a humongous dose of Memorial Day weekend cheer!

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.

Part Four, then: floats! Balloons! Giant props! People in fuzzy costumes! And other mandatory components of all the greatest parades ever.

Right this way for inflatable heroes, sincere floats, and the star of a series that ran three seasons and a movie!

Indy 500 Festival Parade 2014 Photos, Part 5 of 5: the Blooper Reel

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This year marked the fourth time my wife and I attended the Indy 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis. The next five entries (to be posted over the next three days as quickly as time and endurance permit) represent a fraction of the pics my wife and I snapped. In many cases, encores and additional takes of specific subjects may be available if anyone out there is interested in seeing more, or is looking for a loved one who was in one of the many marching bands that day. For first-time MCC visitors, please note my wife and I are relative amateurs, obviously not trained professional photographers, sharing these from a hobbyist standpoint because fun and joy.

What we’ve seen so far:

Part 1: The Special Guests
Part 2: Marching Bands and Other Groups
Part 3: Some of Your Qualifying Drivers
Part 4: Floats and Balloons!

Here in Part 5, the grand finale: pics of parade participants in peculiar positions. Exhibit A: the mysteriously patriotic float known as “Michael the Eagle” ran into trouble on Monument Circle when a tree caught his Uncle Sam hat and threatened to bowl him over like a tenpin. Oh, the humanity!

Michael the Eagle Has Landed!

Right this way for the float that nearly sunk, tourists in the parade, and a fond farewell!

Indy 500 Festival Parade 2014 Photos, Part 4 of 5: Floats and Balloons!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This year marked the fourth time my wife and I attended the Indy 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis. The next five entries (to be posted over the next three days as quickly as time and endurance permit) represent a fraction of the pics my wife and I snapped. In many cases, encores and additional takes of specific subjects may be available if anyone out there is interested in seeing more, or is looking for a loved one who was in one of the many marching bands that day. For first-time MCC visitors, please note my wife and I are relative amateurs, obviously not trained professional photographers, sharing these from a hobbyist standpoint because fun and joy.

Part One featured the singers, actors, and other celebrities who joined this year’s parade. Part Two featured glimpses of all the marching bands who rocked the streets. Part Three were the drivers we were fortunate enough to capture. Here in Part Four, we turn to a serious study of the most essential component to any viable parade: floats and balloons!

As a shout-out to our niece, we’ll let sugary-sweet Strawberry Shortcake lead the pack.

Strawberry Shortcake!

Right this way for envoys from the worlds of Jim Henson, Dr. Seuss, PBS, and more!

Indy 500 Festival Parade 2013 Photos, Part 5 of 5: Balloons and Floats for the Win

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

The next five entries (to be posted over Memorial Day Weekend as quickly as time and endurance permit) represent a fraction of the pics my wife and I snapped. In many cases, encores and additional takes of specific subjects may be available if anyone out there is interested in seeing more, or is looking for a loved one who was in one of the many marching bands that day. For first-time MCC visitors, please note my wife and I are relative amateurs, obviously not trained professional photographers, sharing these from a hobbyist standpoint because of fun Internet joyfulness.

The grand finale: giant inflatables and dioramas! First in line is my personal favorite of the bunch — Super Grover!

Super Grover, 500 Festival Parade 2013, Indianapolis

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500 Festival Parade Second Encore: Smurfs in Surplus

I don’t understand why, but now that Houghmania is on the wane for the moment, I’m finding that, out of all the other Indy 500 Festival Parade photos out there, apparently shots of Mega Papa Smurf — even this many days after the fact — are inexplicably in higher demand than some celebrity nude pics. In many ways that’s a good thing.

More fodder, then, for those who believe love is blue and blue is love:

Alternate fuller shot of Papa Smurf rounding the corner from Washington Street onto Meridian. Street signs about loading and unloading zones are useless against him.

Papa Smurf so close you can see his seams, right before he destroys all who oppose him.

Beneath him, his merry oppressed Smurflings do his every bidding or risk his stompy wrath.

To a lesser extent, Smurfette and Clumsy were also in the parade, but refused to exit their mushroom love hovel and say hi. They had either a bad case of stage fright or a terrible secret to hide.

Indy 500 Festival Parade 2012 Photo Gallery

My wife and I aren’t sports fans, but in 2011 we decided to try the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade for our first time together. Each year on the Saturday before the world-famous Indy 500, our city holds a parade downtown with corporate-character floats, scintillating displays, marching bands, celebrities of varying levels of fame, all 33 qualifying Indy 500 drivers, members of the family that owns and/or operates the race, and bellicose street preachers.

Last year’s experience was such a fun date that we agreed an encore was in order. Ninety-degree weather was far from comfy, but we persevered. The following is a fraction of the pics we snapped.

The parade’s Grand Marshal: Australia’s own Olivia Newton-John! She was too far away to take questions and recriminations about Xanadu.

Co-star of "Grease" and "Twist of Fate"

’80s sensation Rick Springfield! The trailer speakers blared “Jessie’s Girl”, the only song of his that our local radio stations remember. As always, they sadden me.

Rick Springfield!

’80s semi-sensation Eddie Money reprises one of his classic hits, “Two Tickets to Parade”. With him is One Tree Hill‘s Jana Kramer, though for some reason all promotional materials avoided mentioning that show in favor of her plans to release her first country music album later this year. All kinds of odd choices in that sentence.

Eddie Money!

Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana and certified Wild One.

Mitch Daniels, Wild One

TV’s Guy Fieri, of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It was thanks to his recommendation several years ago that we had the pleasure of trying West Virginia’s Hillbilly Hot Dogs, and we’ll never, ever forget the experience.

TV foodie passes by a Jimmy John's without stopping.

Gladys Knight, well-known Pip-wrangler and midnight train passenger.

Still hearing it through the grapevine after all these years.

Florence Henderson is one of two celebrity staples guaranteed to appear at every Indy 500. The other, Jim Nabors, has bowed out this year. I wish him speedy recovery from whatever ruined a good run for him.

TV's Florence Henderson!

Derek Hough from Dancing with Stars and Maria Menounos from Extra. When their car moved forward to Monument Circle, they got out and had one of their walk-along security men snap their pic together in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Tourism isn’t just for us little people.

Nobody tell them I don't watch either show.

Captain Keith Colburn from TV’s Deadliest Catch. Alongside him but off-camera is a guy from A&E’s Storage Wars. Missed him by that much.

Deadliest Catch, Friendliest Waver

Miss Piggy, strung along by her obedient Kermitlings.

Dread the power of her giant-sized karate-chop!

Papa Smurf, living large after the success of his feature film debut, striding around atop forced Smurf labor.

Words of wisdom, boots of DEATH.

The Cat in the Hat and his goldfish arch-nemesis declare a temporary truce for the occasion.

Now containing 0% Mike Myers.

The Confucius Institute sponsored this golden dragon float as our new front line of defense against Godzilla.

The golden dragon says, "RAAAAAR."

Giant monster bookworm says read or be squashed. Look for him in his upcoming Syfy Original Movie, Giant Bookworm vs. Golden Dragon.

Giant Bookworm!

The Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team. Even in those classy suits, they looked a lot less dehydrated and suffering than some of the high school musicians in the parade.

White Light, White Collars

THE Mario Andretti. I haven’t watched or listened to an entire Indy 500 race since college, but even I know and respect that name.

Mario Andretti!

Indy driver Takuma Sato. He finished 33rd out of 33 cars in 2011, but his was one of the two best driver photos we took.

Just wait till 2012!

Marco Andretti, youngest racer in America’s favorite racing family. Take THAT, Speed Racer and Racer-X.

Most Photogenic of Show

Special bonus for longtime readers: I’m please to report at least three food trucks were out and about, making the most of the weekend.

The Edwards Drive-In Dashboard Diner wins Best Truck Art.

The Edwards Drive-In Dashboard Diner.

The Chuck Wagon Deli wins Best Truck I Haven’t Tried Yet. This is the first time I’ve seen them downtown. I would’ve given them a shot if we hadn’t had such a decent breakfast this morning.

The Chuck Wagon Deli.

Der Pretzel Wagen wins Best Sugary Treat. Their cinnamon sugar pretzel was a delightful relief after the parade ended and I needed extra energy for the walk back to the car.

Der Pretzel Wagen.

When most people think “Indiana parade”, I imagine this is what comes to mind first: racecars and farmers. Just add a large basketball and a guy taking a nap, and it would be a true salute to Hoosier stereotypes.

Three Little Pigs.

I trust one or more of the other twenty-one images help balance the scales, so let us never speak of this throwback again.

For wallpaper fans, large-scale versions of these pics are on display in my PhotoBucket album. We have plenty more photos not uploaded, if the public demands outtakes of the Dennis the Menace float, a traditional Chinese dragon, non-character floats sponsored by Big Energy, Indy 500 Princesses, obscured 500 drivers, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s wife’s hat, a stagecoach, the Hulman family, sweltering marching bands, or clowns. I was afraid to photograph any street preachers, so I can’t help you there.

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