COMMUNITY: Takoma Park declares independence

Scroll to the bottom for a slideshow of the 2012 Takoma Park Independence Day Parade.


The parade started late, as parades tend to do.

The air was filled with relaxed anticipation. Kids ran around while parents tried to find space in the shade. They unfolded their creaky beach chairs. Volunteers for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8) offered fans, their faces cheery and sweaty.

Finally, at 10:20 a.m., a child ran down the parade route screaming, “Here they come, daddy!  They’re coming!”  One couldn’t help but think of Paul Revere.

Sure enough, the parade began—headed by a Takoma Park police color guard.  Elected officials followed, mostly in vehicles with signs taped to car doors.  Del. Tom Hucker (D-20) ambled the route with his sign tied to a stroller.

Marching bands and steel drum bands offered booming percussion melodies, while The MacMillan Pipe Band played a highland tune.

Some took quieter approaches, choosing to wave flags and smile.  Del. Heather Mizeur (D-20) walked through on her own before joining forces with the Marylanders for Marriage Equality.  Even Uncle Sam made an appearance, waving kindly and shaking hands with a few.  Elvis did the same, and a clown rode down on a yellow scooter.

With such close proximity to D.C., the parade was not immune to politics.  Volunteers for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign went around with clipboards in the hopes of recruiting more, and the blue and white Van Hollen T-shirts were plastered to the sweaty backs of many determined citizens.

Even presidential candidate Mitt Romney was represented.

The group Good Dog, Bad Romney passed flyers that highlighted the time when Romney strapped his family dog to the car roof during a trip to Canada.  A farther back, Sherman Avenue Tea Party Patriots featured a car with a dog crate on top with a woman inside; another woman wearing a very blonde wig in an imitation of Ann Romney  waved from the passenger seat of the car .

Another Ann Romney impersonator sat luxuriously in the backseat of a pickup truck wearing riding gear, with a pony alongside her, in reference to the real Romney’s love of dressage (an equestrian sport, for which her horse is going to the Olympics).

The 9/11 Truthers also walked in the parade, including one gentleman in an orange prison jumpsuit with the words “Property of Gitmo” on the back.  He carried a sign that said “We didn’t do it.”  Unsurprisingly, they did not feature the upbeat music popular among the children’s groups, nor did they have a dance routine.

Several child development centers, schools, and even a pool group (Daleview) walked in the heat and humidity.  Nearly all groups carried water bottles with them, taking sips every few steps.  Willow Street Yoga did a choreographed routine, featuring a variety of yoga poses set to spunky music.

Takoma Park resident Philip Doyle was out, enjoying the sights.  “I’ve been coming here for many years,” he said, citing the bagpipe performance and the Caribbean dancers as his favorite parts.  “It’s less political than it used to be…it used to be more off-beat.  But that was a good Romney float!”

Molly Henderson had also been attending for years.  “I’ve been coming since I was a child…and I’m about 60 now!” she said, laughing.  She planned on staying for the fireworks display later.

“It’s free and it’s unusual—a community parade,” said Lara Semititsky, also of Takoma Park.  “And it’s fun!”

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Photos by Eric Bond and Julie Wiatt.

About the Author

Jamie Lee
Jamie is a rising senior at the University of Maryland where she is a journalism and English double degree candidate. (She was awarded the "most inspiring future author" superlative in her fourth grade class which spurred her love of the written word and storytelling). In her spare time, she enjoys tennis and swimming.

2 Comments on "COMMUNITY: Takoma Park declares independence"

  1. And a wonderful celebration it was….colorful and joyous. Thank you, Takoma Park!

  2. These were fabulous photos! I left Takoma Park ten years ago, after having lived on Maple Avenue for 16 years and giving 16 fabulous parade parties — these photos brought it all back to me, every one of these wonderful parties. Thanks for posting these pix and giving me a sweet little nostalgic moment.

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