I was more than happy to see Herald Editor and Publisher Jeanny Sharp address the Christmas parade in Ottawa in her Dec. 7 editorial.
I participated in the Christmas parade as a preschooler and as a teenager, and I can’t remember either experience being very fun. We all know how brutal Kansas weather can be in December. Subjecting people, especially the very young and old, to the potential dangers of winter weather so we can celebrate Christmas as a community seems rather shortsighted. Ottawa already has great Christmas traditions, first, simply as a community strong in its faith and, secondly, with the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting at Haley Park. With only two annual parades in Ottawa (one of those being the Veterans’ Day Parade in November), I think it is time for our community reassess this parade.
For my job with the Kansas Democratic Party, I traveled to all parts of this state in the summer of 2010 and noticed a tradition in many towns that is missing in Ottawa — parades in the summer. For most of Kansas, there is a “parade season” that begins in April and ends on Labor Day weekend. With the recent absence of Cowboy Days, Ottawa is unique among most towns in Kansas with having only two parades, the Veterans Day and Christmas parades, at the end of the year.
In my humble opinion, our most important civic holiday — Independence Day — should be an occasion where the community can come together to have a parade to celebrate the birth of our nation and the freedoms we have enjoyed since. However, I believe this is a discussion best held to the entirety of the community. Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Labor Day (which could accompany the anniversary of the founding of Ottawa on September 6, 1864) also could be potential dates for a new parade.
Whatever the date, Ottawa should have a parade in the more outdoors-friendly months to increase participation by the community and even potentially draw out-of-towners who are at more likely to travel here in the summer months. This discussion and hopefully, a new parade, could only strengthen our community.
— Caleb Correll, Ottawa