We could have gone to Pensacola last night to see the annual Christmas Parade. We've been in the past, although it's been a while. It's a nice affair with fancy lighted floats, marching bands, and Shriners zipping around in their little cars. But we didn't.
Instead, we went today to the Redneck Christmas Parade in Chumuckla...a little farming community about 15 minutes up the road from us. Wayne has been before, and while I've heard the stories of past experiences, this was my first. It's an event that can only be truly appreciated by attending.
Chumuckla isn't really a town. There's a convenience store and a farm supply business on the highway and about three miles down a country road (with not much in between) is a cotton gin...and that's the parade route. Everyone parks in the ditches and piles into the back of their pick-up truck to view the parade. Everywhere I looked I saw camouflage clothing and pit bull dogs; the people-watching was definitely entertaining.
And they really do call it the Redneck Christmas Parade...a spoof on their rural roots. Anyone can participate in the parade by paying an entry fee, and the money goes to fund recreational activities for the youth in the area.
We arrived in time for lunch...in this case some shish-kabobs being grilled by a right jolly old guy. They were pretty darn good, too.
It's not unusual to see heavy-duty trucks pulling the floats in any parade, but not often is there a deer head decorating the front. Even the deer was festive; he had beads hanging from his antlers.
Trucks weren't the only power used to pull the floats. There were numerous tractors, teams of mules and even a couple of 18-wheelers...both the cab and trailer. Oh look, this one has a bull's skull on the front!
Most of the floats were like this one...a flat bed trailer decorated for the season (with hay bales for seats) and filled with people throwing things to those lining the road. Everyone on this float was wearing a mouthpiece so it looked like they had deformed or missing teeth, a staple of the redneck image. I'm sure there's a deer head in there somewhere.
But there were plenty of...ummm, unusual objects on the floats, too. Like this outhouse...the commode is hidden by the people but it's there. In past years the septic tank truck has been part of the parade, too. And see, even the pretty young girls wore camouflage.
You have reindeer; rednecks have giant pigs to decorate for the holidays.
There were a few floats that really would...float, that is. It's the only parade you'll see where the throws include rubber fishing worms and packages of beef jerky.
The parade was not without political commentary. In addition to the sign this guy was holding up, there was another on the float that read "The Federal Reserve Stole Christmas."
You can't have a parade without horses, and this one had plenty. And they were all decked out for the season, too. Even the horses had antlers...you can just barely see the blue ones on the horse directly behind this one.
Everyone had a great time poking a little fun at the Redneck stereotype but the bottom line was this was about a little town pulling together to do something for the kids...something the entire family could enjoy. Those fancy parades shown on TV won't have to worry; this one won't steal any of their fame. But for over a hour it spread a lot of holiday cheer, both to those riding in it and those on the sidelines...camouflage and all.