My daughter is slightly obsessed with parades lately. Sorry — harades. Not quite sure why she’s decided to swap the p for an h, but who am I to argue with a 2-year-old who knows everything?
She’s a lucky girl. She’s been to parades at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios dozens of times, so I figured that’s why she loved them so much. Because when it is never not fun to high-five a Disney character?
This week, we tested some other harade waters. First up, our local high school’s homecoming parade. The parade route runs right down the main street about a block from our house, so it would have been child abuse not to go once she heard the marching band.
At first, she was so confused by the candy throwing. “Wait, they’re throwing candy? To me? Is this legal?” Then, she had to figure out how to scramble for candy. She got beat out the first few times, but then she got into the competitive spirit (ah, ain’t it nice to teach fighting tooth-and-nail for a tasty high-fructose corn syrup treat early?)
And she learned the time-honored tradition of parades everywhere — swag. At the high school homecoming, it came in the form of mini footballs and bead necklaces. I just hope she never realizes what some girls do for bead necklaces.
Since we realized we have a harade junkie on our hands, we decided to get her her next fix at the University of Central Florida’s homecoming parade on Saturday. Neither of us are UCF grads but we are football fans (remember, it divides our house). Since we’ve never been to the new Bright House Stadium on UCF’s campus, we thought we’d make a full day of it.
The parade was great. E. loooooooved the huge marching band, got a high-five from cute cheerleaders and even got to hang with Woody and Buzz. Oh, where are the pictures to prove such awesomeness, you ask. Yeah, about that. As I tried to clear memory space later in the day, I accidentally chose the “delete all images from selected date” function and lost half of the day’s pics before I could cancel it. Super.
But, that’s OK, because the pictures of two of my favorite moments of the parade were salvaged — the Shriners in their tiny cars and the Hemp Club! Where was this club when I was in college? Ha! We were a little suspicious of the candy the stoners the activists gave us, but there have been no unintentional trips (or intentional, for that matter!) so far, so I think we’re safe. Behold the amazingness of these two parade participants:
And this parade took the swag factor and PLUSED it — there was not 1 but 3 kinds of mini-footballs, frisbees, UCF flags, pom-poms, beads, beads and more beads, and of course, more candy than one child could ever eat. Afterwards, she was was nearly weighed down by all her loot.
After the parade, we still had almost four hours (gah) to kill before kick-off, so we set out in search of some lunch. And oh boy, we found it. There’s a place near the Arena called Knightros, which is basically an open-to-the-public dining hall. For $6 each — and free for kids 8 and under! — we had an all-you-can-eat assortment of pizza, deli sandwiches, salad bar, fries, made-to-order omelets, French toast, drinks and soft-serve ice cream. The food was not fantastic but boy, it sure brought back memories of college. E. (and her Daddy, who did run 17 miles that morning) looooooved it. I swear she gained the Freshman 15 in one day.
Since we were killing time, we even played the “Guess the letter” banana peel game. Can you guess this one? E. did.
We soon set off on our next campus adventure. By this point, I had already lost half the pictures, so when we passed some stray UCF cheerleaders, I attacked them for a photo opp. Luckily, they were very sweet and obliged:
I grew up going to Penn State games and my husband grew up going to UF games, so we’re sort of football snobs. But the UCF crowd was into it and we had a really good time. Much better than I expected, to be honest. And the price was right. Tickets were pretty cheap and parking was free. Oh, and don’t forget the swag.
Bottom line: we’ll be back, hopefully fostering a love for football games. And then we’ll take her to some “real” football games — Beaver Stadium and The Swamp. But until then, Go Knights!