“SPALDING is dead”, “the parade isn’t what it used to be”, “it’s not South Holland, it’s South Poland”.
No, not my opinion, but the kind of negative comments that have appeared on our website and letters pages before, during and after this year’s successful flower parade.
It’s as if some people have become so encumbered with negativity towards their home town that they almost wished the parade would fail and jumped on any evidence to suggest that it had.
Such detractors should feel thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Their criticism is an unjust rebuke for all those volunteers who help in the organisation, all those who take part in the parade and even to those who just come along and have a great time.
Of course the parade does not attract the crowds it once did. When it started in the 1950s families still gathered around the “wireless” for their entertainment, children still played cowboys and Indians on the streets, hundreds turned out to watch village football matches and many didn’t have cars to drive out of town to new shopping centres, that didn’t exist then anyway.
So a free parade of floats would naturally draw a huge crowd and be the highlight of the year.
Move on half-a-century or so and let’s put it into perspective. On a day when temperatures didn’t hit double figures, and after weeks of heavy rain, over 40,000 people turned up to watch a FREE parade.
There was also a fun fair, special events at local venues and a great family, party atmosphere around the town.
Last year the main criticism seemed to be the lack of children involved, but this year there was an abundance of youth participation and they all looked to be having a wonderful time.
My children are often glued to their computers, TV or games consoles, but they thoroughly enjoyed the day. My little boy is already wondering what the theme will be next year and my girls are planning to bag themselves a ride on one of the floats.
Not exactly an event that is dying on its feet then. Just one that is adapting to changing times and doing so extremely well.