While I haven’t experienced nearly as many King Turkey Days as — for example — my colleague Beth Rickers, I feel like I’ve attended enough to know if it’s been a particularly good festival.
I feel like this past weekend’s KTD was one of the best, if not the best, of the 15 Turkey Days I’ve attended. Driving in the Grand Parade Saturday afternoon, it seemed as if the streets were lined with more people than I’d ever seen along the route. I later heard that the crowd was estimated as the biggest in at least 10 years, so I guess that hunch was a good one. (It would be interesting to go back and see estimated attendance at the parade from other years. Looking at old black-and-white photographs, it seems like the crowds may have been even bigger “back in the day.”)
Saturday’s weather certainly didn’t hurt, that’s for sure. After a somewhat chilly and damp Friday, the forecast promised sunny skies, and no one could have been disappointed. One couldn’t have asked for much better conditions for an early morning 5K walk, and a good number of participants of all ages showed up for a leisurely stroll. That seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day, as there seemed to be substantial quantities of people everywhere — the pancake breakfast (no great surprise), along 10th Street as the 10K runners neared and crossed the finish line, at the Great Gobbler Gallop (we’re halfway to winning the Traveling Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph!), all throughout the parade route and at the county fairgrounds afterward. It was, quite simply, a great day to be in Worthington.
It also was a good day for the McGaughey family, although a little harried at times.
Early Saturday, I went over to a local car dealership to get a pickup I was to drive in the parade. It was brand new (the odometer said 16 miles), ultra-shiny red and loaded with all kinds of amenities; probably the fanciest vehicle of any kind I’d driven. Given that I always get a little nervous when driving someone else’s car, anyway, I just tried to take a few deep breaths and drive as I normally would — especially when I got downtown and ended up having to do a long detour because I missed the proper turn to get to where I was to park before the parade.
Then there was a matter of a hitch, and pulling one. This was new territory for me, as I’d never pulled so much as a small U-Haul in my life. I believe it was Bob Bristow who graciously took care of the hitch attachment for me, but it’s almost too bad that Bob — who was kept plenty busy with his parade committee responsibilities — couldn’t have done the driving, too. It wasn’t like driving forward at the top speed of perhaps 4 mph was excessively difficult; it was backing up and turning around a couple of different times to get properly positioned to begin. Between having my 8-year-old son, Zach, chatting up a storm in the front seat, to people I didn’t know on the street trying to direct me (I’m sorry if I seemed in any way abrupt; I was a little tense!), to having very young Kiddie Parade winners and (thankfully) their parents on the hitch while attempting these maneuvers … well, let’s just say it was a relief to turn on 10th Street, and now it was more or less a straight shot the rest of the way. And it wound up being all good — and yes, I’d do the whole thing again next year if asked.
There was also the matter of getting our 10-year-old daughter, Grace, from one parade float to another. The Kiddie Parade entry was 15A, so I got through the parade on that, dropped the family I was carrying off back downtown, drove the truck and trailer back to a neighbor’s house, got my car and went with Zach back to as close to the end of the parade route as we could. I got there just in time to get Grace, who as Winterfest Princess was riding in a royalty float at No. 49, and whisked her back to catch up with The Dance Academy float at No. 82. I’m sure there were plenty of other parents who had similar maneuvers over the course of the parade. It’s a tad wild and hectic, but it really was a remarkable parade, and all that shuttling around probably helps make it so.
“Wild” would certainly not describe our King Turkey Day Saturday night. We took the kids to the fairgrounds for about an hour and a half, and then we were all (well, not Grace) ready to head home and simply relax.
We now should have more than enough time to recover for King Turkey Day 2016.