Electric Eclectic

Carefully arranged dancers make an artistic float.

Carefully arranged dancers make an artistic float.

Let’s talk about the word “eclectic.”  According to dictionary.com, it means “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and divers range of sources.”

I think the Starlight Parade qualified as eclectic.

Is this a giant Elmo or am I just out of date on kids characters?

Is this a giant Elmo or am I just out of date on kids characters?

Let’s see:

  • Semi Trucks
  • Santas on Harleys
  • Vintage VWs
  • Marching Band
  • Cheerleaders
  • Lawnmower racing team
  • Ballerinas
  • Flame twirlers
  • Lighted twirlers
  • Roller derby-ers
  • Military Color Guard
  • Antique Fire Engine
  • Rescued Dogs
  • WWII Duck
  • Gymnasts
  • Corvette collection
  • Bread mascot
  • Double-decker London tour bus
  • Soccer players
  • Chinese dragon
  • Baseball mascots
  • Soccer mascots
  • Girl scouts
  • Hula hoopers
This little ballerina reminded me of an impressionist painting I have a vague memory of.

This little ballerina reminded me of an impressionist painting I have a vague memory of.

 

Oh, and, how could I forget:

  • The cast of all 6 Star Wars episodes.

 

If rebels and empire-ists can ride together peacefully, can't we all get along?

If rebels and empire-ists can ride together peacefully, can’t we all get along?

Now that I think about it, just the Star Wars characters decked out in Christmas decorations alone was probably enough to qualify for “eclectic” status.

Of course the best shot of a storm trooper I got was of the only one with no Christmas lights.

Of course the best shot of a storm trooper I got was of the only one with no Christmas lights.

“Eclectic” has sometimes been used as a polite way of saying “messy,” “cluttered,” or even, “no taste.”  But sometimes being eclectic works quite well.

In the case of the Starlight Parade, all divergent themes were tied together by the overarching theme of Christmas.  As such, it kept the interest going for the full hour the parade lasted.  You just never knew what was coming next.

This mascot stopped long enough for a family to get a picture.

This mascot stopped long enough for a family to get a picture.

And, yes, we saw the lawnmowers and VWs and cheerleaders in the Mainx24 parade, but that was during the day.  See the difference?  This time it was dark.  And they were wearing lights.  Completely different effect.

I was slightly disappointed with the Star Wars group, I must admit.  I kept waiting for Yoda to pop up with a lightsaber and start flipping around while fighting Count Dooku.  If Yoda was there, he was quietly meditating behind so many Christmas decorations I couldn’t see him.

No acrobatic lightsaber fights erupted during the parade.

No acrobatic lightsaber fights erupted during the parade.

 

The Star Wars characters were courtesy of two local chapters of a national organization of Star Wars costumers.  One is called Rebel Legion.  These folks are serious about dressing like the heroes of the Star Wars episodes.  If you want to dress like a villain, however, you have to join the Fighting 501st Legion instead.

This is a hobby I’ve never considered.  Tutorials on their website teach how to create authentic costumes.  They include advise on Wookiee hair punching (which confused me until I saw a photo of a mask with hair being punched through it to create a hairy face), making your own blood stripes (which turn out to be red bars sewn on a sleeve), and creating a realistic lip curl (a mechanism to get a Wookie mask to snarl when roaring).

I don’t see myself turning into a costumer in the near (or distant) future, but the diversity of interests in this world is pretty amazing.  What really amazes me is these folks spend a lot of time and money creating these costumes all for the purpose of appearing at charitable and community events in exchange for smiles.

Much like the car decorating hobby, I don’t quite get it, but I appreciate the effort at creating joy.

The lighted sign appeared like a thought bubble above this curious baby's head.

The lighted sign appeared like a thought bubble above this curious baby’s head.

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