Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Whither Doo Dah?

The Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena is less than a week away now: January 18, starting at Holly & Raymond Streets at 11:30 am--according to their website.

The parade started in 1978 because January 1 fell on a Sunday that year, and the tradition-bound Tournament of Roses Parade would not strut or float on a Sunday. (For some bizarre reason, Wiki and other sites put that story in 1976. January 1 fell on a Thursday in 1976.)

The first mention I've found of Doo Dah in the Los Angeles Times is from November 17, 1977, announcing the "first (and perhaps last) Doo Dah Parade that does not have a tradition to worry about...or a theme...or entry forms..."

Prognostication has never been one of the Times strong suits.

Even organizer Peter Apanel (organizer being a title open to interpretation, of course) said--when asked directly if there would be another Doo Dah Parade--said "No. This is strictly a one-time event."

Nonsense, even then.

So how did it go? As the Times reported on Jan. 2: "Ten-thousand delighted spectators watched belly dancers, a violinist in a spider costume and other zanies... Other participants included Girl Scout and Brownie troops, a bagpipe band, dogs, miniature horses and antique cars. A water tank truck was awarded the "Doo Dah" sweepstakes prize. Some of the 75 entrants in the procession had so much fun they went down the parade route twice."

By December of 1978, Apanel told the papers that 1000 participants had signed up for the 2nd annual parade, including hobbits and a roller skating drill team of women dressed as beer bottles. It was just too much fun not to do again.

The first picture is from the Parade's website; the second (of the 2005 parade) from the LAist blog.

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