Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Awesome Old Cars, Human-Dinosaur Coexistence, and I Guess Our Premier Only Owns the One Casual Outfit: Here's the Gimli Islendingadagurinn 2013 Parade (56K Modems, Prepare to Die)

And here we are again! It took a little longer than I'd hoped to pull everything together -- always something to be done, y'know how it is -- but a week is a not altogether terrible turnaround, as I'm sure you'd agree if you could see my metaphorical digital cutting room floor of photograph choices.

There was, as always, a whole lot of different stuff packed into the parade; this gallery runs an initial twenty-one megabytes and increases by volume depending on how many images you care to enlarge, so if you have an older internet connection you may wish to towel it down intermittently to keep it from catching fire.

For comparative purposes, should you feel the impulse, the image gallery of last year's parade can be found here.

Onward, then! Much like last year, the Parade escaped with far better weather than the rest of the festival got, and the audience size reflected this appropriately:

Hark! In the distance there you should be able to make out a pace car, which leads the runners and formally kicks off the parade.

Then, after a slight gap, a two-wheeled, two-horned herald of the parade proper:

I've been playing a lot of Civilization V the past little while -- it's a very cost-effective game for the underemployed, just pick it up whenever it's discounted on Steam and then spend hundreds of hours on it instead of on spending money -- I've been playing a lot of Civilization V as late, and these two here have very much the Civilization settler look around them. All set to conquer the world, with their robes and their little flags; I like to imagine that they walked straight down Centre Street into the harbour, transmogrified into a boat with a little 'donk' noise, and then sailed in a straight line until they landed somewhere and founded a town.

Right? Anyone? Anyon--well, uh, anyway. (Cough.) Moving on.

Here's the Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, riding in the parade; I think heads of state riding in the small-town parades of other countries is super adorable, and I wish it happened all the time. (I mean, I understand why it doesn't, being kind of a security risk and all. But I wish it did.)

Now, when you take pictures of an annual parade two years in a row, it is understandable that there will be some similarities: a float constructed largely like a previous float, or a pipe band with some new faces amidst the previous lineup, or that sort of thing. But this, well, even live and in person this seemed a little weird.

The Premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger, decided for this year's parade that he'd wear the same outfit he did last year. Like, the exact same outfit.

EXACT. In comparing the two photo sets now, I'm reasonably certain those are even the same shoes.

There are many perfectly plausible scenarios that would explain this, of course. It's possible that he really liked how he looked in that shirt when he tried it on in the store and he decided to buy three or four of it, as one does; it is also possible that he only owns the one go-to casual outfit, figuring that ninety per cent of his appearances are in suits anyway so maybe no one'll notice. It is possible as well that none of this even occurred to him; perhaps twice in a row on the August long Monday he rolled out of bed and put on whatever clothes were closest, and twice in a row those just happened to be the exact same shirt and pants and shoes. But this definitely feels like one of those cartoon gags where a character opens up his closet and it's just like twenty identical copies of the only outfit he's ever shown wearing.

Anyway, if he shows up in the exact same outfit again next Islendingadagurinn Parade, I'm declaring shenanigans. That's the takeaway here.

(Part of the reason for the delay on this post, incidentally, is because I was distracted by not one but two matters of provincial frustration. Each of them will get their own post, forthcoming hopefully not too long after this one, so watch for that.)

James Bezan brought helpers who threw candy; Bezan ain't stupid, when it comes to parades.

This is also the point in the parade when the cars start getting fancier:

oh dang

oh daaaaaaaang

It's good that the parade route every year is a straight line and then another straight line, because I have a hard time imagining driving this car without being incredibly paranoid about turns.

But, then, why take a car when you can take a giant ethnic boat, right? Right! I think we can all agree on this one.

You can see, to your right, the Obligatory Vikings following closely:

"Ee-yep, that's the Liquor Mart pillaged. Fun town! All right, now what?"

I can't remember if I've noted this before, but I'd tote a shield around everywhere if I thought I could get away with it. I feel like having a shield at all times would solve an awful lot of day-to-day problems.

The two vikings facing each other in the middle of this photograph took this time to start mock-battling each other with a mace and a spear. The viking at the far right of this photograph took this time to chirp some kids in the crowd. And the viking in the grey there just kept a-walkin', because running to catch back up with the parade tends to be a little more cumbersome in chainmail.

guys, wait, guys hey wait

No, listen, it isn't those Vikings, it--ahh, whatever, it's a pretty laid-back parade, wear what you like.

No shortage of decorative items on this float, but I'd be remiss not to note the set of armour they included.

Included on the other side, alas, but I think it bears mention nonetheless.


The placard on the side of this car identified it -- or its driver, I suppose that's more likely -- as "Wally". Well, you'd better pick it up, Wally, because right now you're in the way of the future:


Oof, timeline whiplash, hang on. (Yeah, but that surfboard, though.)

Some of the vehicles before this one featured explanatory vanity plates, like "63 DART" or "1COOL56" or "CUDA 67", so this one being "MORLEY" took me a second to parse. "Oh, a '75 Morley! Wait... wait, no. I'm dumb."

Whoa. Perfect '80s gangster-film car, this one. Probably explodes really nicely. (Although please don't blow up this car.)

Oh, man, remember Oldsmobiles? Remember when that was a company?

I realize that this picture doesn't feel quite exactly centred, but you try fitting a whole '75 Oldsmobile into a standard-sized photograph on your first try. Once you notice how far the frame stretches from the back wheel compared to the space between the front wheel and the front of the car, it's hard not to feel a little scrambled. WHERE DO I AIM, HOW DO I EVEN

It may be a little difficult to discern from the size of these pictures, but yes, that is a tiger puppet on the driver's hand. (It also took a second to register with audience members, which I thought was funny. "Did--did he just--?")

Oh! This was fun. So I get a picture of the clown first, here, but he doesn't notice at this point that I've photographed him.

Then I take a picture of the car alongside him, but -- seeing the camera aimed at him -- now he poses for the camera, helpfully freezing in place for a couple of seconds to hold the pose you see here.

Just after that, he turns to look behind himself, looks back at me, and announces:

"Oh, you wanted the car!"

It all worked out, anyway, is the important thing.

Y'know what I want to do? One day I want to get ahold of one of these things and drive it as fast as I can up the Pembina Highway bike corridor. Imagine you're frozen in the traffic at rush hour, or to get to the stadium, and then you glance sideways to see one of these things blow by you. That'd liven the commute up a bit, wouldn't it? I think that'd be a hoot.

100% true, not a word of a lie: this float was blaring the Boot Scootin' Boogie.

(Sidenote: you can download an MP3 recording of The Cosmopolitans playing the Boot Scootin' Boogie here. And in my seven calendar years of writing this blog, that may be among the most Winnipeggian sentences I've ever typed.)

I'd love to see an empirical, peer-reviewed study done on coulrophobia -- yes, that's the fear of clowns -- occurring in people who first saw a clown live and in person versus coulrophobia occurring in people who first saw a clown in mass media or in artwork. I imagine -- note that I'm hypothesizing, I don't have the means to run this study -- I imagine that the latter would vastly outweigh the former, and I would like to enter the picture above as potential supporting documentation. Because here we have four colourful and friendly figures inside or behind the car, and painted on the car we have what is clearly some manner of serial killer.


I feel like this must be the perfect metaphor for something; I just can't for the life of me figure out what.

If you look very carefully, you may be able to spot the interloper in their midst.

"They'll never figure it out!"

"Dang. You know, I really don't know how they figured it out."

My, but there's a lot going on in this picture.

Yes, I remember, I already did my whole routine about outfit colours and video game power levels last year. It still applies, though!

(F'real, though, you can imagine the entire squad being deployed at once and somehow getting trounced by two or three guys with swords.)

I suppose this long shot isn't strictly necessary, but I didn't want anyone to miss out on the glittery streamer applied across the front of the truck. I appreciate the effort!

Also, part of the fun of a rural parade is that sometimes people in the parade happen to see someone they know in the crowd--

--hop out of their float for a hug--

--and then run back and hop back onto the float.

Another part of the fun of a rural parade is that, unlike them stingy carefully-measured city parades, folks in rural parades can just throw as much candy as they please and not even have worry about it.

That throw was at one kid. Dude just streaming the candy everywhere, ain't even care.

This was a really eventful parade entry! Good stuff this year, Knights of Columbus.

The pause for crowd-hugs, meanwhile, caused a bit of a backup, which is how this shot got as convenient as it did. Lot going on, in this picture.

"Hi, Anne."

I'm not being cute, that was the actual dialogue for this. Small parades, man, they're great.

Winnipeg Beach Mayor (and longtime Playland Arcade owner) Tony Pimentel will figure briefly in a blog post coming later this month, so let's take this time instead to admire the Town of Winnipeg Beach's adorable li'l logo. haaaaaaa, lookit you, aren't you cute

Yes, it's Happy Fun Car, the driving sensation that's sweeping the nation! (Happy Fun Car may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. Happy Fun Car contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled or looked at. Ingredients of Happy Fun Car include an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space. Do not taunt Happy Fun Car.)

As always, the flight school showed up for the parade in big numbers; the first wave included one young woman marching along out of uniform, which seemed unusual.

The second wave marched past after that, with nothing out of the ordinary, and then the third of the three waves--

--also had someone marching out of uniform alongside 'em. So now I like to imagine this is how they recruit, like they just march until plainclothes types start marching along with them and then whoever lasts the farthest gets a uniform.

Also: any time you see kids standing up in any of these pictures, it means somebody just gave something away. Temporary tattoos, in this case, as you can see along the right of the photo. (There's a lot going on in this photo.)

Oh shit, Manitoba Hydro brought a creationist diorama. Oh, geez. This is going to be really awkward. Don't make eye contact.

I'm going to go ahead and guess that they covered it in puppies because they couldn't come up with any dinosaur puns.

Speaking of puppies:

100% true, not a word of a lie: this vehicle was blaring Darude's "Sandstorm".

Each dog has its individual and distinctive talents, of course; some of the dogs run very fast, some can bark on command, and one tiny dog in this procession jumped five feet up into its owner's arms. But the best, I feel--

--the best is convincing a dog to wear a viking helmet.


I've just realized that bears are, effectively, the anti-clowns; they are scary and dangerous in real life, and culturally we depict them as harmless and friendly. (They are also anti-clowns in that, were a bear to run into a clown, it would definitely kill and eat it.)

The guitar-toting gentleman accompanying the bear was handing out what appeared to be 45-RPM singles(!!), though I didn't get my hands on one to verify this. (Been a while since I could pass for a child, I'm afraid.)

I just like this picture because it looks like the bear's heckling him. "Hey! Ha ha. Hey! FREEBIRD!"

"Gettin' real sick of your shit, bear."

I wish that we the internet had an emoticon for wordlessly opening one's mouth, closing one's mouth again and then throwing one's hands up in bewilderment, because that's what this picture brings out of me. I just, I don't even know.

Let's go back to the truck pulling it for a second, because, what:

I feel obligated to bring up the alot, but that might actually be the least of the concerns here.

At this point in the parade I heard a very small barking behind me, which continued just long enough for me to turn around an--


Right, right, the parade, sorry. Have some racecars!

Seconds after this picture was taken, the green car gave off a massive backfire that spooked the entire block. BOOF

I'm not sure whether I want to hear the story behind Dino or not. I feel like it'd probably be sad.

The next time you're feeling down, imagine what a chase scene in these things would look like.

I'm sure you have to work a dog up to this from kerchiefs, but any dog willing to wear a flag as a cape should just wear a flag as a cape, like, all the damn time. PATRIOT DOGS.

The cobra is easy enough to pick up, but I feel like it would be a terrible oversight if you failed to properly note the airbrushed sparkles on this car.

Family reunions on flatbeds: an Islendingadagurinn parade tradition.

You can spot the hand and pants of the Green Drop mascot at the very right edge of this photo; this was precisely the moment that, much to my surprise and chagrin, the memory card of my camera filled up. I had neglected to copy and erase it after my trip to the Brandon Folk Festival the week prior, because I am stupid. So if any of the photos following this one seem to be at sort of a weird angle, it is because I was also deleting photos off the memory card on the fly at the time.

I would also end up missing a shot of two tractors later in the parade; fortunately, both of those tractors were in the earlier Ponemah parade, so you can have a gander at that if you're big into tractors.

Trials and tribulations, man! Trials and tribulations. So the Green Drop, alas, escaped me, but luckily he has a picture of himself on his ride.

Whatever, like you wouldn't put a full-body picture of yourself across your car if given the chance. (Actually, we should look into this as a policy alternative; imagine how much safer and more responsibly people would drive if this were mandatory.)



You are not even half as prepared for the eventual apocalypse as this guy is.

I have to say, I appreciate that they brought a mascot. I'm not--I don't know what it is, exactly; it has a crayon body and a grape head and what kind of look like Rainbow Brite legs. But I appreciate that they brought it. If you have the choice between bringing a mascot and not bringing a mascot, man, just bring a mascot.

This is what Tyler Shipley sees every night just before he wakes up screaming.

Horses, while not completely colourblind, can only perceive two-thirds of the visible spectrum and thus lose out both on colour differentiation and on the perception of all but the purest hues. What this means, for our purposes, is that you can detail a horse however you like and the horse probably won't even mind. ("Get the legwarmers!")

You can tell that the end of a parade is nigh when folks increasingly just start wandering through it.

And that concludes the parade! The thousands in attendance collected their belongings, many of them sticking around town, and the unsung heroes went about their duties of cleaning up afterwards.

Today we salute you, Mr. Road Closed Sign Collector. (Mr. Road Closed Sign Collector~!)

As one does when in Gimli, I walked all the way down Centre Street to the water, where -- owing to a loop in the parade route -- I found myself reunited with the festivities:

And that gave me the opportunity to make good.





And that concludes our coverage of the Gimli 2013 Islendingadagurinn Parade! Thank you for reading; please check back on this site periodically for more items of local interest.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing the parade to us

Anonymous said...

"And then, depression set in."

James Hope Howard said...

Anonymous 08/14:

You're welcome!

Anonymous 08/15:


Anonymous said...

I like the Ferrari.

I want the Caddy.

I'd kill for the VW.

Purple Rod said...


I was wondering if you could do me a huge favor, and add my blog to your roll call. I haven't had many blog entries in the last two years, but I hope to change this now that I have some spare time. thanks.


Anonymous said...

Purpleknob here's how it works. First you thank the guy for the great pics and his efforts. Then maybe explain your site in an email.

James Hope Howard said...