Elizabeth Payne over at the Ottawa Citizen decides that she’s going to gripe about the quality of Santa Clause parade the City of Ottawa puts on these days.
Ottawa is the capital of a G8 nation. The country, we are told often enough, that has done the best job of weathering the global financial storm. We are one of this country’s biggest cities. We are a significant tourist destination. What is more, we are a city known for our winter weather.
So can’t we do better than Star Wars Stormtroopers and the Garlic King for our annual Santa Claus parade?
I get it, Elizabeth. Ottawa’s parade hasn’t upgraded to corporate status. You want the idyllic floats seen south of the border with animatronic movements on grand scale, sponsored by Lego, Barbie and other Toys R Us icons. You want the float with the snow covered log cabin, spouting fake smoke with carollers belting out some typical ditty. We’re in agreement that it takes money to have these things and that Ottawa is a capital city of a large first-world nation. It’s awesome you call upon the National Capital Commission to step up to the bat.
But to drop this into the mix:
But, really, Stormtroopers? “Nothing says Christmas like Darth Vader,” a companion quipped, which kind of sums things up.
Oh hell, Liz. You had to kick that hornet’s nest, didn’t you…?
Andy Pegan, a respected member of the 501st, Canadian Garrison, responds via Facebook:
I wanted to thank Ms. Payne for bringing exposure to The Capital City Garrison, or “the Star Wars Guys’ to which as we are often referred to. We have a proud tradition supporting local charities, the Help Santa Toy Parade being one of many.
Our members are part of two worldwide Star Wars costuming groups, the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion. Collectively, our membership exceeds 6,500 and in 2011 our participation resulted in over $11,000,000 in fundraising for charities and disaster relief. We are all volunteers. We do our ‘weird and quirky’ thing because we love role playing, showing off the costumes that we create with our own hands, and we get fulfilment knowing that our presence can brighten someone’s day, spark imagination and generate funds for needy groups.
So, what do we have to do with Christmas? Ever since 1977, Star Wars has been part of the toy gift giving traditions of children around the world. In fact, in 1977 the demand for the action figures was so great that empty boxes were sold with the promise of the figures to come later. As for the parade, we were invited guests, a fan favourite (aside from Santa, himself) and winners of “Best Novelty Float” in 2012 and in years past. Outside of Ottawa’s new Comic Con, you won’t find more of our members in one place and the attraction to be a part of our float is so great that members from St. Catherines, Ontario to Sherbrooke, Quebec have made the trip to join us. As a member I am proud of our contribution and hope that if organizers make an effort to better the parade in the future as you suggest, we are a part of those plans.
So Liz, the idea here is not to shit on the people showing up and making the effort. You should be
shaming the people NOT contributing suggesting new ideas if you want to try to build a community effort. Oh and stop with the snark from the sidelines – it suggests an ignorance to the meaning of why people make an effort.