helps by providing communications for the
Tulsa State Fair Parade
When: Saturday, October 1, 2005
Many THANKS to those that participated!
Thanks to Doug Lee - KC5ZQM for the following report:
TSFP 2005 ĖTHE TRADITIONS LIVES!
When someone says, ďDonít rain on my parade,Ē they donít want to be disturbed, or their plans disrupted, or their comfort zone invaded. In all those ways, the Tulsa State Fair Parade got rained on.
By the time our Fearless Leader, Mark Conklin N7XYO, picked me up that Saturday morning, October 1, storms and showers had left everything wet. But, figuratively speaking, rain had already fallen on the parade.
The first sign of this was a different person was assigned to organize the parade this year, and she decided to move the start time up from 10 AM to 9 AM. This decision had two effects. Some of the bands that come from far away did not want to start out extra early to get to Tulsa on time, so they decided not to come and the number of entries was smaller. It also meant that we had no more than an hour and a half to stage all the entries that did show up. Usually we need two full hours to get everyone in place.
The second sign of figurative rain came when Fred Williams KD5NBR, called us on our way in to report that someone had double-booked the parking lot of F&M Bank at 13th and Harvard. Two empty buses were already on the parking lot and waiting to shuttle workers to the Fair. I had the cell phone number of Julie Cohenour, Special Events Coordinator for the Fairgrounds Authority, and Mark relayed it on to Fred. Julie was on her way to the parking lot. She later decided to shift the Fair workersí shuttle to a smaller parking lot north of the main one.
The new organizer also tended to put bands too close to together in the line-up, which makes for a noisier environment. In the past, the line-up was divided into three sections, A, B and C. This year it had an extra section. So we had to divide up the parking lot differently. Just another piece of confusion to deal with.
I also found out the new organizer tried to cancel the parade. I am not the biggest fan of tradition for traditionís sake, but the Fair Parade is a big tradition that means something, not only to the TRO, but mostly to the kids in bands from some of the smaller schools in the region.
As Mark N7XYO and I drove up US 75, we could see a strong thunderstorm cell off to the west, and it was headed right towards the Fair Parade area. It didnít arrive there until we had some coffee and doughnuts, and Ben Joplin WB5VST, Fair Parade Net Control-For-Life, gave every one some basic instructions and made sure some key assignments were covered. The only volunteer who was pre-assigned to a location was John Grace, KD5VSB. He is recovering from a broken foot and needed an assignment where he could sit. I put him on the covered Reviewing Stand where he could stay off his foot and out of the rain.
The literal rain started around 8:15 and soon became heavy enough that everyone retreated into his or her vehicle. Mark had brought along his laptop computer and used the radar display to keep everybody informed of the stormís movement.
The rain moved out around 8:45. Ben WB5VST announced that we would target the start of the parade for 9:45 or 10. We came to help put on a parade, and we were going to do just that! And thatís what we did. The parade was started soon after 9:45, and as the last band approached the street, rain started to fall again.
Of course, we knew from the forecasts about the possibility of storms. I mentioned that at the TRO meeting the Tuesday night before the parade. Mark N7XYO had me call the volunteers to make sure they brought their rain gear and clipboards. He also had me put the line-up sheets into page protectors on the ride in.
We had four volunteers new to the event: Charlie Hoy KE5FUD, Paul King N5XJW, Mike Darrol KD5RJZ, and Tom White K5EHX. Lynda Griffin KE5FAS, XYL of Merlin Griffin WB5OSM, helped with the event last year, this was her first as a ham.
A big THANK YOU goes to everyone who helped!
By Doug Lee - KC5ZQM
Activities Chairman - TRO