Waiting to be shuttled to our staging area. This was so very well organized. We parked our cars in a big veterans facility. Van picked us up for a short drive to this place where we waited for a bus to pick us up. It was about a 5 mile drive to the staging area where we were assigned. After being dropped off we had to walk about 10 blocks before we found our sign. Got to see lots of the other parade entrants during that walk. I was astounded at the floats, the costumes, the people. Bands were practicing all over the place. Cases of water were all over the place. Lots of portable bathrooms.
We got acquainted with the group behind us. They were the Buffalo Soldiers. From what I understand back in history buffalo soldiers were all black and they fought in the war but were very badly ostracized. I think this group took on the name in honor of these soldiers. They were all black and I am sure they must be known for their absolutely beautiful and very expensive Harley Davidsons. I have never seen anything like it. These machines were a work of art. There were probably about 30 and each one was different. There were some Hondas in there also. Even their outfits were impressive. Very nice people.
We were told to get ready and started lining up. Isla and Roy (brother and sister) carried the banner. The tall, thin girl in center of picture is Stephanie -- our dance instructor. She choreographs all our dances. She did not mind marching with all of us old ladies. And thank God because it would have been very difficult without her there.
Buffalo soldiers with their beautiful bikes. We got very acquainted with them during the wait. Every group had a sign like the one on the cone and that was our waiting place.
Here we are with these gorgeous boys. They were so big and really nice. They were All Americans with Semper Fideles which is connected to the marines. I asked to have my picture taken with them because I wanted to tell my granddaughters-Abby & Anna that Grandma still has it. Then the rest of the Sunsationals joined in because they wanted their pictures taken. That just made it more fun
The GhostBusters. They had neat costumes and a neat van. They were ahead of us so we got to know them also. Had my picture taken with them also.
These people were along side of us. I could not quit staring at their spectacular costumes. Even their hairpieces were awesome. This picture does it no justice at all. Their float was very nicely decorated.
Camels were down the way from us. Roy & I walked down to see them. The closer we got the worse the smell was. They stunk. Then one of them started to get very agitated and really started to act up. It was scary because it looked like he could have broken his leash and boy was he mad. The guys attempted to calm him and it did work after a while. That was a sight to see.
This group was just ahead of us. Talk about talented!! Oh my gosh!! It was a percussion group. Looked like high school kids. They played a few numbers to warm up. They also had chorography to go with the beating of drums. They were incredible!! Loved this.
These cars are a work of art. The people driving these were dressed like gangsters and their molls. This car has a suitcase as well as a bank bag attached to the running board.
Here we are posing by our sign. These costumes were all hand made by a few of the members about 4 years ago. We got a lot of compliments. Being as the parade's theme was "Southwest" they were very appropriate. We were very easy to spot. In fact the group sent a security guard down to find me and Linda when we walked around looking at the other entries. He knew exactly what to look for.
Nancy, Darlene, Linda P., Linda L. and Mary Lynn--age range is 66-68.
Waiting in the parking lot at Sunland Village East. This is 8 am. A little chilly but it sure warmed up later in the day. We caravan to Phoenix.
What a riot this picture is!! This is the day before in the parking lot at auditorium. We are practicing "roll off." We did this once in the actual parade and it did not work at all so it was not attempted again. The back row could not hear the whistle and they were so busy waving at crowd that they didn't even do it.
So after the parade was going on for about an hour we finally got to move. We were near the back so that is why the long wait. Now I thought the line up was all the groups around us. Not the case. They also had groups on side streets that would funnel in to the place they were supposed to be. We never saw the POW honor guard until just before the parade approach when they came in to get in front of us. Then a group of beautiful Arabian horses came in behind us. Never saw those either until after we started. There was a preparade section that we had to walk through and then a sign that said "start" and that was when it began. It was almost too much to get my head around. TV cameras, commentators, and tons of people. So much to see and we had to concentrate and keep our eye on each other to stay in line as well as listen for Stephanie's whistle to cue us that we would be doing the little routine. Oh yeah--and we had to keep a certain distance from the other groups. People were stacked 9 deep and clapping, cheering and whistling and shouting "Happy New Year" I thought this must be what Kate Middleton feels like when she makes an appearance. The people were in back of barricades. Then we would come up to bleachers with more people. I do remember a TV camera being pointed at me and I did wave my pom pom and said "Hi Abby, Anna, Travis & Jamie." Not sure if that is what got on TV or not. I know ABC was televising it but other stations were there to do clips for their news programs. I was enjoying waving and shouting Happy New Year back to the people. When ever we did our routine it really made a hit. Found out that we got a little behind when we took the time to do it. Had to walk fast to catch up. Try to keep in step while doing that. Started to laugh when my attempts to get in step were futile. Once I heard Carole in back of me hollering, "Pat--Right." I had a tendency to drift off to the left and because I was the beginning of one line it was noticeable to the others behind me. At the end we found out that poor Mary Jean was almost done in because it was so fast. It seemed to me that our steps were so much bigger when we did the routine than when we practiced it. At the end we were sweating and thirsty. We all agreed that it was a great experience and would do it again. I loved it!!! Only next time the back row wants to be in front so they can hear the whistle. I do know that Darlene was on camera for a while and she blew a kiss into the TV camera to her husband who was watching it on TV. I joked that she didn't get into trouble with her kiss like I did. This whole experience was amazing and I feel so fortunate to have been able to do it.