Christmas Parade: A Fun Accessible Holiday Event

Holidays can be a financial burden on individuals with disabilities, as most live in poverty.  I am very fortunate to be able to live within my means, but my budget does not allow for a great deal of extras during the holiday season.  I do not want to miss out on too much of the holiday fun, so I try to find low-cost or free activities.  One of my favorite free holiday activities is the Wausau Christmas Parade.  The past few years, it was my tradition to go with Randy, my caregiver.  This year I switched it up and went with my mom!

Christmas Parade

Early Arrival

We wanted to get a good accessible parking spot and a good spectator spot, so we left early.  We thought the parade would reach the downtown at 6:30 and we arrived at 5:30.  When we started to scope out a spot, the streets were relatively bare.  I questioned whether we had the right night!  We found a great spot and once we settled in, we discovered the parade would not reach downtown for another 90 minutes!

Christmas Parade

Knitted treasures for the cold!

Chase the Chill at Christmas Parade

We found a perfect front row spot. Looking around, we were delighted to see hundreds and hundreds of hand knitted hats, mittens and scarves lining the streets!  Chase the Chill of Central Wisconsin continues to carry on the tradition of providing these handmade gems for those who are cold.  I must admit, this year I took advantage and grabbed a scarf for my face and a square scarf for my lap!  It was simply that cold outside!

Ugly Mug and Friends

My mom ran down to The Ugly Mug, my favorite local coffee shop to snag me a Marshmallow Mocha Latte!  It did help keep me warm while waiting for the parade.  My mom and I chatted to pass the time.  Soon she ran into her friend Steve, who joined us.  Before the parade began, another surprise occurred.  My former caregiver and friend, Adam joined us with his little guy, Charlie!  It was fun catching up and watching Charlie keep Adam on his toes!

Goofing off

I also ran into Amy and her growing family! If you remember, Amy was my caregiver last year. She left shortly before having her son, Shea. The added bonus was seeing her daughter, Evelyn and meeting Shea for the first time!

The Christmas Parade Arrives…Finally!

Finally, the parade began.  The first to pass by us was a fire engine and the worst part of the parade for me…the sirens blaring!  I forgot my ear plugs so my mom did the best she could by holding her hands over my ears.  We watched the floats and vehicles stream by.  Candy was given to the kids and I received a few handshakes and “high fives”.

Christmas Parade

One of Many Grinches!

Too Many Grinches!

I have to say this was not the best Wausau City Christmas Parade I have ever been too.  First, the cold got to me.  Secondly, there was one float after another featuring the Grinch.  I have to say between 50-70% of the parade featured the Grinch!

I like Dr. Suess as much as the next guy, but this was certainly Grinch overload! There are so many other options to represent Christmas. The Christmas Parade would have been better to have more diversity of themes and displays.

Facebook Christmas Parade Critics

After the parade, Facebookers were pretty critical of this year’s parade. We did not experience any issues, but in some areas kids were running into the streets to gather candy. Additionally, there were some who “cut” in front of people to get a better view. My girlfriend, Ashley, and her grandmother experienced this where they were situated.

I wonder if the parade could recruit volunteers to help prevent these issues in the future. It would be nice if everyone just remained polite and considerate of others. That would definitely be the Christmas Spirit, right?!

Christmas Parade

Early Departure and Wheelchair Issues

The temperatures and the repetitive themes motivated us to pack up early. I turned my chair on to leave. However, my chair was not as eager to leave! I have had issues in the past with my chair getting too cold. My chair weighs over 500lbs and I was afraid my mom was going to have to push me back! Luckily, this is not my mom’s first rodeo so after a few adjustments, I was rollin’ once again. However, my battery light was flashing so I was racing through town to the car before my chair shut down!

Bundle Up!

Parade Advice

We waited outside so I would have a spot. My mom’s spot was saved by her lawn chair. Next time we will bring an extra lawn chair to save my spot and go get coffee! This way we won’t be cold for too long!

Speaking of cold, dress extra warm! I dressed like I always do in the winter. However, I did not wear boots. I did not think my feet would get cold, but they were ice blocks when I got home! I am going to invest in a wheelchair blanket for these occasions. Remember you can always take off layers if you overdo it.

Meet friends! Parades are always much more fun when watched with friends and family. Catching up makes the wait before go by fast! It is also so much fun watching a parade with kids! Their enthusiasm is contagious.

Just have fun! Sometimes things don’t go as planned and that is ok! Simply take the bumps and make the best of it! I will look back on this year’s Christmas Parade as I have those in years past, with fond memories!

Until next time, Keep Rollin’ and Keep Smilin!

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