Monday, August 2, 2010

Natal Day Festival: July 29 - August 2, 2010, Part 3 - August 2

The fifth and final day of the Natal Day Festival technically began with the 104th running of the Dartmouth Natal Day Road Races - one of the oldest, continually running foot races in Canada. The races started at 8:00 AM though, and after two hard days of festival going I just couldn't wake up at 5:30 AM a third day in a row (I would have had to cycle over the bridge all the way to Dartmouth, making my departure time even earlier than usual).

I did however make it down to Gottingen Street (apparently the most dangerous neighbourhood in Halifax according to people who don't live there) for the start of the annual Natal Day Parade.

(Town criers announce the start of the parade.)

(The Navy Marching Band leads the procession.)

(Mounties leading the Pipes and Drums "H Division" of the RCMP...)

(Leading yet more Mounties.)

(Pipe and drum bands are very popular in Halifax, as you can probably tell by now if you've read the blog regularly.)

(The Annual Halifax Comic Convention is coming in October, hence this guy's get up.)

(Upper Clements Parks, eh? Sounds like it needs to be added to add to my list of places to visit. Too bad the website URL doesn't work at the time of writing this.)

(This float was in the Pride Parade too, with the same prisoners... I wonder if they were allowed out between parades?)

(Tinkerbell sings on the Best Commercial Entry winning float for some fairytale birthday party company.)

(And here's my pick for Most Colourful Float. I haven't seen Champ in ages; this brings back memories of early morning television watching as a kid... "I can put my arm back on. You can't. So Play Safe." Great message and effective ad, since I've obviously never forgotten it.)

(Again, I never know what these things are supposed to be, but they're always fun to see.)

(Ditto for this thing.)

(The relatively rare Vietnamese parade dragon - often overshadowed by its more visible Chinese relative.)

(Air Cadets marching in time...)

(And the answer to the age old question, "How many boy scouts does it take to help a little old 'lady' across the street?")

(Of course no parade would be complete without Shriners on tiny motorcycles.)

(But apparently even driving a miniature bike or car was too hard for this Shriner.)

After the Parade had ended, it was time to head over the bridge to Sullivan's Pond and Park for the Mayor's Dartmouth Natal Day Tea Party, where I ate even more cookies and even more free cake.

(The excellent Shirley Jackson & The Good Rockin' Daddies entertain the large crowd enjoying the excellent weather and the excellent Natal Day Festival.)

(These guys travelled over to Dartmouth too, to pipe in the mayor again; tax payer dollars well spent, twice.)

Sullivan's Park was also the site of the Pirates of Sullivan's Pond Family Fun Day, featuring bouncy castles galore!

After stuffing myself full of cake and cookies at Sullivan's Pond, I headed back to the Macdonald Bridge for the 28th Annual Bridge Walk over the Macdonald Bridge. Every year during the Natal Day Festival, the Macdonald Bridge (a toll bridge over the Halifax Harbour that sees 40 000 vehicle crossings a day) is closed and a giant celebration is held with even more cake and refreshments, even more bouncy castles and music, and the greatest sight I've ever seen on a bridge - no cars!

(I estimate at least 5 000 people walked over this bridge today. I'll update the real number when I find it.)

(Mr. MACPASS hands out high fives.)

(These ladies were so happy the bridge was closed they started dancing in the street! Either that, or it was because there was a live band playing behind me. Regardless, pay attention Canada, this is what happens when you get cars and drivers off the road.)

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