Lots of Hot Air and Balloons on Parade

Noah steps out into traffic to get a good view of the 2012 Festival of Trees parade. November 17, 2012.

Going back to the Quad Cities is like old home week for our family. We see some relatives, friends and a few former co-workers.

Our trip to the 2012 Festival of Trees parade was no different. We decided to take the boys back to the parade we enjoyed so many times during our stay in the QC. Noah had never seen the parade as we moved west before the 2006 parade.

Before we found a spot to stand along the parade route, we had stepped back into the time machine.

Theresa Bryant, Gary Metivier, Paula Sands, Mike Ortiz, Anne Hughes, Beth Marsoun, Randy Biery, Jim Mertens and Michelle Makelbust were some of my former KWQC-kinfolk. Mertens, anchor at ‘rival’ WQAD, was like a co-worker to me.

Bettendorf City Administrator Decker Ploehn carries the city on his shoulders dressed as character from the Nutcracker. He’s the one in red.

We found a spot, not on the curb, but behind the first wave of parade goers in downtown Davenport. Then a nice family sitting in front of us, asked if the boys wanted to sit on the curb to have a front-row seat. We thanked them, sat down, and watched the big balloons march by our vantage point.

Noah enjoyed the parade. Levi befriended a woman in our group whose party we crashed. She asked him if he wanted to be held up higher to see what was coming our way. After the first lift, Levi asked the woman if she was a grandma. She said yes. With 17 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, she knew the joys little children can bring.

The WQAD crew walked by. John David marches on with Cassie Heiter, Rebecca Smith, Terry Swails and Matt Hammill try to keep up.

Levi had to get a boost because the group ahead of us in the parade decided this was an event you stood in the street to see. Not just standing-up-during-an-entire-rock concert, but almost IN the parade. And really, they had no qualms about doing it. A little respect for your fellow parade-goers can go a long way.

We did have a nice view of Antonella’s Pizzeria, the pizza place President Obama visited just days before the 2012 election.

This experience made me appreciate the Urbandale parade “enforcers” who draw a chalkline along the route to keep kids from being squashed like mis-thrown Tootsie Roll. Kids are one thing, adults are another.

Again, thanks to the wonderful people who allowed us to sit in front of them. We were able to see the B100 van, the WQAD newsteam and even Bettendorf City Manager, Decker Ploehn.

Levi was so tough, he didn’t need gloves.

My old Team Weekend pal, Erik Maitland is back in the Quads and now chief meteorologist at Channel 6. He stopped, said hello and even gave us a candy cane. I just hope he didn’t think I was Eugene Kennedy. That would have been awkward.

We even experienced a dance recital.

Again, thanks to our hosts and even some viewers with entirely too good of memories to remember some old weekend anchor. It is humbling to think we made that much of an impression.

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