The great thing about a parade is that you really don’t have to stay for the whole thing in order to enjoy it. You could watch bits and pieces of it, in-between running to the ice cream truck or watching the crowd. You could watch just a few floats here and there, and get the gist of it. You could even just catch the tail end, and still have an appreciative eyeful.
The great thing about Caribana is the fact that everyone lets their hair down and genuinely enjoys themselves. The costumes, the loud thumping music, the dancing—it’s the parade that, more than any other, allows the watchers to actively participate and feel like they’re a part of the display and hoopla too. Oh, and did I mention the costumes? Whether they’re on the masqueraders or members of the crowd, these costumes really show a wild side of Torontonians. Between Caribana and the Pride Parade, you really get a sense that people want to let loose and be uninhibited, if given the chance.
The great thing about easy-going kids is that they’ll take anything coming their way. Arrive late(r than expected)? No problem—they’ll stick around for 3 1/2 hours to see everything, and walk over 3 km and through a huge crowd, to do it. Stand in line 30 minutes for food? No worries—patience is their middle name. Long delays in-between floats and views of colourful masqueraders? These kids can find plenty to amuse themselves, including running around to start a collection of found feathers.
I love that my kids never once complained about anything during their first Caribana experience. We got close, when the Boy first caught an earful of music blasting from the speakers, and said, “The music is so loud, my heart is jiggling.” But then it seemed that he just learned to step back and enjoy it for what it was. Even when the Girl, in her excitement, tried to leap over a knee-high boulder, mis-judged, and ended up in a heap with one knee and elbow badly scraped up and bleeding, she didn’t let it ruin her day. She laughed it off within 20 seconds, and still managed to walk another two kilometres before setting ourselves down in a streetcar.
I love that for a frantic, crowded, potentially-fatiguing day, everything went off quite swimmingly, and I have two patient, good-humoured, and curious kids to thank for that.