I was quite flattered to be offered the job of announcer at the Eugene Celebration parade this past Saturday morning at the early hour of 9 A.M. It poured the day before and rained all night long and when I got to my post at the corner of 8th and Willamette street it was drizzling but within a few moments the clouds went bye bye and the sun came out and it got nice and warm and I was able after while to change out of my poncho honcho and long johnnies into a cooler more colorful outfit. With a blast of the horn the festivities began, warming up the crowd with jokes, song and pitter patter, awaiting the parade. The theme of the Celebration this year was the Big EC, a clever takeoff on the big Easy of New Orleans, and mardi gras. The entries were wild and diverse and funny as you would expect from Eugene. Veterans for Kerry were a huge group and it made me realize the swift boaters agains Kerry are a small but loud and shrill minority. Geeks without borders raced around dressed as hard drives and floppy disks. Teachers and studentS of mathematics showed math can be EC, dressed as large numbers, equations signs and geometric shapes. Parents and families of lesbians and gays proclaimed, "Leave families behind", wearing plastic behinds. Peace Corps volunteers shared their funky bus with neighbors, chickens, vegetables and anything else that might be headed to market. The Oar Jr. Crew rowed their way crowing crew chants, wearing superhero capes.

My number one fan was Katy who loved my helmet and told inexplicable jokes over the sound system: why did the skeleton cross the road. Because he didn't have a bone. Why did the elephant sit on his trunk? Because he was all alone. Whoops, here come the parade, led by Eugene's finest on a motorcycle with lights flashing, followed by the Naval Cadet Corps carrying the colors.

The Weiners of Mass Deception. As portrayed by the Harlequins. They had their own secret service men to keep common folk from approaching the weiners. After them came the Eugene Ed Fund proclaiming the 1854 creation of the Eugene 4J school district and many schools were represented: the Sheldon Irish marching band, the North Eugene Highlanders bagpipe and drummers band. Head Start house float. Willamette High School electric cars, made by students, zipping around like crazed commuters. Family School Kazoo marching band. Fox Hollow fifty nifty kids who learned all the states and their capitals. Oak Hill school Mardi Falcons doing the funky falcon. Jefferson Middle School and Magnet Arts School. Cesar Chavez Elementary, a new school, students singing "De Colores," anthem of the UFA union. Drinking Gourd Elementary, "We will not raise our children to kill your children." Yujin Gakuen Japanese Language Immersion School, in kimonos and wooden shoes, speaking Japanese, "ohio gaziamus." Ridgeline Montessori Charter School.

Backstage Dancewear doing the Muddy Gras to the song, "Singing in the Rain," too bad, it was sunny; followed by the Couch Potatoes. Behind them the Emerald All Star Cheerleaders led the crowd in huzzahs. The kids from the Royal Basketball Academy dribbled basketballs. The gymnasts from the National Academy of Gymnastics cartwheeled and tumbled the length of the parade. Every radio station was represented and the KRVM jocks extolled the fact they have high school DJs as part of their teaching process. Pro Choice had a giant dancing emergency birth control pill and condoms dressed as the prez and supreme court judges. Planned Parenthood dressed as Rosie Rivertors using their flexed muscles to keep Joe Sperm (a real scary dude) away from Eva the Egg (so sweet, so BIG).

Falun Gong, principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance through 5 sets of exercise cultivating oneself like a garden planting seeds of goodness, no donations accepted, all activities are free at Done to the sound of train whistles celebrating the reopening of the Eugene train station, now will Amtrak be on time? Here come the politicos: Mainstreet Moms Oppose Bush, working getting out the vote of single mothers, the deficit curls their hair. The Caries are marching in lock step celebrating We the People's Constitutional Government.

Billionaires for Bush ensure four more years of putting profit before people, they know a good president when they buy one. Kitty Piercy is a mayor in tune with Eugene, riding on a flatbed with a dixieland jazz band. Congressman Peter DeFazio, cleaning up slug slime with his rake and wheelbarrow, leading the parade of democratic candidates for state and local offices. The Steel Magnolia Steel Drum band playing authentic fifty-five barrel drums, invented in Trinidad for their own Carnival. Followed by the Big EC Alligator crawled out of the bayou, 24 feet long, world's largest origami model made out of one continuous (big) sheet of paper.

As forewarned, a costume change, done in front of everyone during a lull in the parade as we await the arrival of The Slug Queen! Queen O'Slima, that's slime, not slim. Crowned the night before she will reign over the EC and we bow to her slimeness as she drives past on her chariot followed by a cart full of former slime queens. Alpine Springs old folks home is a magic theme with residents dressed as bunny rabbits popping up out of top hats. George's Cruise Line as decked out by Mary Meyer, has the title, Ship of Fools with the Prez at the helm. All revelry ceases as a depiction of the firemen raising the flag at ground zero approaches. And as it passes, on the other side of the wall bloody Jesus hangs from the cross and a spittle flying preacher man screams over a loudspeaker. Hmmm.

pic by andy vertal

Fortunately the Humoroids follow closely behind, proclaiming, Carbs Are People, Too, dressed as donuts, muffins, breadsticks, carbo loadin' and lovin' it. Here's the fencers, Eugene Fencing Club, going at it, en garde, touche. What's that you say? The self help for hard of hearing people are not embarrased wearing hearing aids. Horses at last. Tennesse Walkers. They never run. Followed by a 1852 Wells Fargo stagecoach, took long enough to get here. And the final group, Samba Ja, Weapons of Mass Percussion, drumming their way home. Whew, all worn out and I didn't walk a mile.

Here's Dave Rogers, you remember him from the Fourth of July. He's singing and playing at the Salon De la Refuses, the art works turned down by the Mayor's Art Show. One of the paintings: Family Portrait.

Jerry Ross and a painting he did of a young man who was in a demonstration in Genova, Italy that got rough and at one point the young man threw a fire extinguisher at the police and they fired back.

Night time is the right time at the Big EC and what better band to show off a Big Easy sound than the Radiators? They closed things out and capped off a great day at the Eugene Celebration.

-- Capn Skyp