Parade a medley of color, music and fun
By MICHELLE JONES, Times Staff Writer
LAND O'LAKES -- It wasn't supposed to be a Christmas parade.
But Santa Claus flew down from the North Pole to help the community of Land O'Lakes celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Flapjack Festival at its parade Saturday.
He surprised parade watchers with his first appearance at the parade. His float was the last.
Children waved and shouted their Christmas requests even though the holiday is still more than seven weeks away.
Robin and Joseph McCarthy of Land O'Lakes brought their 7-year-old daughter, Megan, primarily to watch their other daughter, 10-year-old Katie, participate in the parade with her dance group from the Contempo School of Dance.
"We've been three times before," said Joseph McCarthy, who has lived in the area for 12 years.
Robin McCarthy said they like to come to the parade to see the local bands and catch candy.
"We thought it might be a good idea to bring some of (our candy) and throw it back at them," she said.
Candy and beads were tossed to the crowd, which lined both sides of School Road.
After the typical fire engines and emergency service vehicles came the human flapjacks.
Seven flapjacks sang We are the Flapjacks to the tune of Queen's We Are The Champions to put everyone in the mood for the fun that followed.
Members of the Champion Land O'Lakes All Star Little League baseball team were the grand marshals of the parade.
Floats, decorated in silver to celebrate the anniversary of the festival, a marching band from Pine View Middle School, cheerleaders, politicians and horses brought smiles to faces as they strolled by.
The Kids' Stuff Day Care and Preschool float was an anniversary cake that had several tiers and was decorated in silver.
Wagons and strollers, also decorated in silver, followed the float.
"Here comes the Land O'Lakes Unit of the Hell's Angels gang," Joseph McCarthy joked as a group of motorcycles passed.
Steve Slowey, the new honorary mayor of Land O'Lakes, made his debut, riding by and greeting many folks personally.
Katie McCarthy's dance group wore purple shorts and T-shirts with the name of their dance school printed in pink on the shorts. They carried small pizza pans decorated as dimes and danced to We're in the Money.
When the parade ended, the McCarthys gave their choice for the best floats and marchers.
Robin McCarthy liked the Kids' Stuff float and the Pine View cheerleaders. Joseph McCarthy thought the Lutz Land O'Lakes Woman's Club float was simple yet elegant, and Megan voted for her sisters' group.
"It was a wonderful parade," Robin McCarthy said. "It was nice to see the horses."
Judges voted for the following: best decorated, ERA Russell Adams Realty; first place, Land O'Lakes French Club; second place, Kids' Stuff; third place, Pasco County School Board PLACE (before and after school programs); best junior civic unit, Girl Scout Troop 404; best marching unit, Pine View Middle School Band; most original unit, Christian Social Services. Land O'Lakes Moose Lodge, with women dancing in poodle skirts and members playing air guitar to 1950s music, won best of parade.
The festival continues today.
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