Parade Marshal

by Carl Strang

Today I step aside from the usual content of this blog (mostly; see below) to celebrate the ongoing traditions of small town America, particularly my home town of Culver, Indiana. It is prompted by pride in my father’s selection as co-marshal for the annual Lake Fest parade.

Ted Strang, settled into his jeep seat and ready to go.

Along with another surviving World War II veteran, Jim DeWitt, Dad eschewed the parade wave for a more manly straight wave to the crowd.

Though I am sure he was not fond of being a center of attention, Dad understood his symbolic role, kept his smile going and never uttered a mumble of complaint.

I was relieved that these two senior gentlemen were given chairs in the shade to watch the following train of the parade from the review stand.

Best seats in town.

The parade was a long one; it seemed that half of the town of 2000 was in it, and the other half spread out along the route to watch.

Bands, such as the local high school marching band, are a necessary ingredient.

Culver’s location on Lake Maxinkuckee is the inspiration for the annual festival.

Golf carts have become a common form of transportation in small towns. This one was dressed in a nautical theme.

The summer school at the Culver Military Academy contributes several units to the parade. The Black Horse Troop has been a part of the Academy for the greater part of a century.

As you might imagine, the horses were placed toward the end of the parade.

The festival is more than just the parade. There are footraces and other competitions.

I had to sit out the 5-mile run as the neuroma in my foot undergoes treatment.

I do have a token natural history note. I found, in a flowerbed behind the parade review stand, a number of large wasps behaving in a territorial manner.

This is not a species I have ever seen in DuPage County, Illinois. Cicada killers specialize in feeding Tibicen cicadas to their young, and live only where the soil is sandy enough for them to dig their natal tunnels.

An ex-girlfriend once delightedly, and perhaps with some accuracy, referred to Culver as “Mayberry.” Such towns still are out there.



  1. sarah said,

    July 18, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Hello there! I found your blog one day when I was beginning to sort out the identification of some grass species, and I’ve been following it for the last few weeks. Yes: there are still small towns in America that do things the old fashioned way. I live in southern Vermont, and when I read this post, I just had to share with you our own Fourth of July parade. I hope you get a kick out of it. Here ’tis:

    cheers – sarah

    • natureinquiries said,

      July 20, 2011 at 5:44 am

      Hi, Sarah,
      I checked it out. Familiar, but also with twists of its own. These small towns have their commonalities but also their uniqueness.

  2. Beth Johnson said,

    July 18, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Congratulations to your father for his honor of Marshall of the parade and also for serving our country in WWII. What an inspiration to us all.

  3. jomegat said,

    July 18, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I have marched in more than one parade like this – first as a member of a marching band, but more recently, in a Pathfinder uniform. It’s so nice to be able to honor your Dad like this. He well deserves it. They don’t call his “The Greatest Generation” for nothing.

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