Monday, April 13, 2009

life at the heart of crass consumerism

Yesterday was Richmond's annual Easter on Parade. Neither parade nor particularly Easter-ish, this amounts to a few blocks of Monument Avenue being shut off for a grand street festival. I gather that once upon a time in some far-off memory of "the way Richmond was" this amounted to a parade of grand hats and people strolling along in their Easter finest. While some of this was on display yesterday, the festival amounted to much more of this:

Large inflatables for sale? Check. Gyro/falafel/sausage/funnel cakes for sale? Check. Parents saying no? Check.

Don't get me wrong. There were some grand hats. There were refined folks in their better garb — right down to our friend and neighbor who sported a boater for the day. There were grand houses opened for parties. There was a troupe of Morris dancers decked out in their sticks, bells, and face paint. There might have been a petting zoo. There were bottles to fill with colored sand. There were mimosas and bloody marys in plastic cups. There were dogs decked out in wings and ears and bonnets. There were kids-a-plenty. And there was the sun, the grand sun which decided to push past the April moods and join us all day long. There were puppet shows, and there was Jonathan Austin — Richmond's local juggler who is at all things public where there are kids and families.

With all of this and more, I still don't understand the need for the same food concessions as always. Isn't it possible — just once? — for there to be a festival in Richmond without the same old Italian sausage and funnel cake vendors? Isn't it possible — just once? — for that big cup Banana is holding to be filled with lemonade that doesn't come with a side of grease and a heavy dose of sugar? And I fail to see what Batman and Dora the Explorer have to do with Easter.