Pacing has always been an issue with this homegrown, deliberately unpolished parade. In past years this shortcoming has been handily overcome by inventive floats, energetic dancers, and the whole “let’s put on a show” vibe of the beloved Solstice Parade tradition. This year, however, the snail-like pace, creative sloppiness, and lack of organization really showed. As spectators were overheard commenting during the block-long stretches of bare pavement, Solstice 2014 was a resounding dud. It was what you wouldn’t think this parade could ever become — a tedious, self-satisfied, and boring mess.
After the umpteenth embarrassing lack of activity between floats at about the 90-minute mark, many spectators began to amble away, either thinking the parade was over (which it was not) or that it had taken their patience for granted several times too many. As usual, the start time was a solid 30-45 minutes behind schedule, creating an air of anticipation that this summertime turkey absolutely was unable to live up to.
As a valuable community asset that draws around 100,000 visitors and generates millions of dollars, perhaps it’s time to institute a committee of concerned citizens with the drive and organizational skills necessary to return it to its former glory? Solstice should be brisk, loud, colorful, fun, and, yes, a little naughty and edgy. The “parade” that trudged up State Street last Saturday had none of these characteristics.