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Just some of silliness seen at last year's parade. (photo by Robert Rogers)

Richmond is going silly

on April 1, 2011

Richmond is going silly on Saturday.

Giant puppets, women with mustaches, dogs in costumes and many more odd-looking individuals will march through the streets of Richmond on Saturday for the city’s “fifth annual” Richmond Silly Parade.

The idea of the event is to create as many silly-looking marching teams as possible. Last year spectators watched—among others—the Senior Citizen Dry-Water Swim Team, the Purple Hula Hoopers, the Rosie the Riveters, as well as pets (and their owners) in costumes. “The Motivated Bunny,” an eight-foot Mother Earth and “Denzel Washington” also put in an appearance.

But why is the parade called the “fifth annual” when it’s actually only taking place for the second time? For Michael Beer, the parade’s main organizer and the brains behind the event, the answer is obvious. “It started last year, when instead of the first parade, we organized the fourth one,” he said. “Nobody likes to come for the event that has just been inaugurated. People would think, ‘We’ll see how it is going and will come next time.’” Thanks to Beer’s small fraud, people actually apologized to him for skipping previous ones, and of course turned up. Last year’s parade attracted around one hundred citizens.

This time Beer expects even more participants. “152 marching and 1,000 watching,” he says with confidence.

a giant costume walking down 23rd street in richmond

Last year's parade was a comedy of the absurd. (Photo by Robert Rogers)

The “silly” crowd will gather at 10:30 am at the corner of 23rd and Macdonald Avenue in downtown Richmond. According to the poster, the parade will end at exactly 11:17, but this seems to be flexible—it all depends on the weather, attendance and attitude.

What can be expected this year? Beer has already equipped himself with a colorful clown’s wig. It belonged to his mother, who, in her seventies, studied to become a clown and visit children in hospitals. “Dressing up is our family tradition,” he says.

The list of participants is not closed yet, but Beer also expects the parade to feature kids in Halloween costumes, stilt walkers, floats, the “Electric Elephant,” giant puppets, a basketball team, women with mustaches and an anti-pollution group promoting clear rivers. He is also trying to form a brigade of kids in strollers and a group of skateboarders. All Richmond citizens are invited to join, no matter if they want to march in silly costumes or stand in the crowd shouting, “Huzzah, olé, and ‘Yeah, Richmond!’” he says.

“Everyone who want to participate in the march should register and pay a registration fee of 1,45 Danish krones,” Beer says with a twinkle in his eye. “The only rules are: no nudity and no seriousness.”

However, the idea behind the parade is serious itself. “I wanted to create something that will pull all the Richmond communities together,” Beer said. The city already has two parades—Cinco de Mayo and Juneteenth—but they attract people of different backgrounds. The Silly Parade is aimed at everyone. And what could be a better way of linking people than humor? Everyone likes to laugh.

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