In the minutes leading up to the Gaslight Parade in Jeffersontown on Thursday night, the crowd was loud and diverse. Talk about the school day, the hard work week, the upcoming Cards football game...conversation as usual in L'Ville.
But as the church bell struck 6, loud conversation turned to whispers, and every head turned to get a glimpse of the start of the big parade.
The Gaslight Parade is very "Mayberry"...local business owners cruising down "Main Street" in vintage cars, clowns throwing candy into the crowd, hometown beauty queens on the back of convertibles, and the Mayor waiving to the crowd.
But it works here.
These folks love their parade. They love the hokiness. They love the whole Rockwellian feel.
Plus, it's a lot of fun!
From the American Flag that kicked off the parade, through all of the local school bands, the herd of sports cars from the Falls City Corvette Club, the giant John Deere tractors, the dozen or so different Kosair entries, Miss Kentucky Kindra Clark (insert cat call here), and the handful of politicians, it was quite the parade.
My favorite entry was the Baxter Ave. Morgue. Their vehicle was followed by a group of young dancers dressed as ghouls, grooving to Michael Jackson's Thriller.
My least favorite was the Hwangs Martial Arts Studio. They had about a dozen kids with large sticks swinging them around on command. By the time they got to where I was on the parade route, they looked beat, and I imagined one of the sticks slipping from the lackluster student, and smacking me in the noggin.
And there's something comforting about participants in the parade talking to folks on the sidewalk as they pass. It's that type of familiarity that makes this a warm, cozy event. There's a very unique energy about the Gaslight Parade that I haven't experienced at other similar events.
And I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the food.
Passtime Fish House has a tent set up for the festival, and they serve some of the best fried fish in town. And you couldn't walk twenty feet without finding a booth selling grilled hot dogs and burgers. And after the parade, the White House (formally Bruce's Smokehouse) had BBQ, beer and music. An all around great festival feel.
The parade might be over, but the Gaslight Festival continues through Sunday.