It Was the Biggest One Yet: The Tenth Fourth!
Roughly 130 folks showed up! And that ain’t all: Six – count’em, six – bagpipers & drummers from the Capitol City Highlanders led the parade, including (for the fifth time) our resident piper Philip Bates. How’s that for a great ‘hood event?!
As advertised for the last couple of months here and on social media and by fliers hung on door handles by volunteers (thanks, Adrian and all!), the Tenth Annual WCNA Parade and Potluck Picnic was hosted by Joel and Kay Klumpp in their driveway and front yard – and spilling out onto the street – at 11813 Indianhead. They live at the middle of their stretch of the route designated as “The Peninsula”, the center of the parade route formed by the intersections of Indianhead, Caddo and Oakwood (thanks to our curvy and non-parallel streets.
They began the tradition in 2012 when, about a week before the day, they extended an invitation to their nearby neighbors – especially those with kids – to join with them in an “all- welcome parade” around their block (the Peninsula) mid- morning of the 4th, followed by a potluck picnic: “Bring your blankets or lawn chairs and favorite dishes and join with us and neighbors on our shady front yard” in a community- building celebration. The word got out and people from all over WCN showed up. Thus an instant tradition was established. Joel’s parents were visiting and co-hosting, his dad cooking the hotdogs and mother helping set up and serve the crowd. Thus has it continued till the present, with nextdoor neighbors Adrienne Arter and Les Griffin contributing in major ways, along with the kids as they grew (and continue to grow) up. The Klumpps represent the embodiment of ideal residents, neighbors and citizens!
Were you surprised that it was hot on the 4th? It’s generally a perfect day to plan for on outdoor activity in Austin, as it never rains (oh wait: I forgot last year) on Independence Day (but that rain last year waited until most activities were over). The 101-degree(F) high was the 26th over 100 degrees up till the parade/picnic this year, which is looking increasingly like the devastating drought year of 2011.
The number of (us) old-timers at the fete has slowly been declining over the years, which means “new-timers” have more than taken up the slack. Lots of new faces, even more from the last few years and a sprinkling of “veterans” made up the crowd, with the largest number of young – some very young – ever! The route isn’t really long, but it’s deceptive: several marchers carried their kiddos all or part of the way. The band set a pretty brisk pace, stretching us out over the whole Caddo leg, but they would pause and march in place periodically to help to regroup.
As traditionalized by Juan and Carmen Ramirez at the corner of Oakwood and Indianhead – the lowest elevation point of the route – kids in the parade encountered older youths tossing candy into the street around them (Parade pause again…). Eventually everyone got back up the hill to the Klumpps’, and after a brief respite, the picnic began, with the usual amazing array of dishes (and (probably) a record number of sweet choices).
There was plenty of time to make Willie’s picnic afterward, but hard to imagine many braving that blazing sun in the middle of Q2 stadium. (From reports apparently the relatively small number of early patrons situated themselves in the shady seats regardless of what their tickets said.) We all enjoyed ourselves immensely, especially being able to be together and talk (relatively) safely in person despite the continuing pandemic. First time in a while for many of us!
Lots of kids, from infants to teenagers, adding enormous energy to the proceedings. Several folks, including a kid or two, proved to be very proficient at producing the giant bubbles so engaging to kids – of all ages. The concrete ditch running beside the street proved again to be another strong draw for kids to produce chalk drawings, and a Cornhole game attracted a mix of kids and adults.
The street proved to be as big a draw as anything, with even one of our Safety Team captains setting up there (did I say Safety?). Narrow Indianhead was lined with more cars than usual on one side and/or the other for a considerable distance in either direction, and of course the streets are our sidewalks for most of the neighborhood so there were folks there all the time, coalescing into a smaller space when an occasional vehicle needed to pass through.
The Klumpps intend to do it again next year, again with help from volunteer neighbors and the neighborhood association. So watch for notices in the newsletter, on social media and perhaps at your door. Or maybe you can remember the date…?