Community Connects Through Virtual Shoebox Parade

Abi Zajac, Opinion Editor

Colorful parade floats passed through Edwardsville’s Main Street, except the floats are the size of shoeboxes and Main Street is merely a printed backdrop.

This miniature parade put on by Edwardsville Parks and Recreation occurred Saturday over Facebook live. The parade was sponsored by Corktree Creative and inspired by the 2020 Virtual Waukegan American Independence Parade: Shoebox Edition.

It was not only a parade but also a contest. The total from the $35 entry fee for commercial businesses became the cash prize for the winning floats. Each float could enter under one of four categories: individual/family, commercial entry, non-profit and theme (storybook).

Parade announcers John Cunningham and Trina Vetter introduced each of the floats as they were pulled across the Main Street backdrop, or more accurately across viewers’ screens. Edwardsville Parks and Recreation also included a downloadable I-Spy game so viewers could have a list of things to watch for in the parade.

The featured floats varied in theme and creators: a float from Happy Up Inc. “Clucking with laughter” to a Lego Star Wars float depicting an “epic space battle” from 9-year-old Colten Browne, according to Vetter.

Not only did the parade entertain viewers with its vivacious floats, but it also informed them of local businesses and events such as SIUE’s float, which featured a red and black paper shoe with Eddie the cougar inside. The announcers said SIUE’s float represented the Cougar Homecoming Run and its SIUE Alumni Association Scholarship that comes from the run’s proceeds.

Other floats were designed for the storybook theme. The winner of this category was the Edwardsville Public Library; their float featured miniature children’s book characters “jumping off” the miniature book’s pages, according to Cunningham.

Winners of the other categories were Happy Up Inc., Edwardsville Arts Center and the “Friedrich Family” Dragons Love Tacos. Additional pictures of the floats can be found on Edwardsville Parks and Recreation’s Facebook page along with a YouTube video of the parade.

With 20 float entries and 8,178 views on Facebook the Edwardsville Parks and Recreation said they enjoyed the parade and are considering it again for 2021.

The parade ended traditionally with a fire truck blaring its sirens, except the fire truck was a shoebox and the sirens were sound effects.