I saw a commercial for the parade on TV the week prior and thought, man, that would be fun for the kids. Ellie is majorly into marching bands and fire trucks these days (among many, many other things), so I knew she would definitely love it. And E.J., well, E.J. just goes with the flow. But, I was certainly not brave enough to make the drive down with both kids by myself, so when I realized my mom was coming at that time, it seemed perfect!
We still decided to play it by ear the morning of the parade, letting quality of children's sleep dictate our plans. Ultimately, the stars aligned and making the trip for the parade was our best option for naps for all, so off we went!
After about an hour and a half in the car, we arrived in Gainesville, parked, and found a little spot to set up camp along University Avenue, right in front of my old dorm, Murphree Hall. I have always watched the homecoming parade from Murphree, including from my dorm window balcony my freshman year (...a mere 14 years ago, WHAT?!)! So, it seemed like the ideal spot. We spread out our blanket and settled in for a little picnic while we waited for the parade to begin.
Our parade-watching spot!
E.J. is excited about his first trip to Gainesville!
Ellie is just generally excited!
In front of my dorm with my kids!
Spirited baby feet
The kids waiting for the parade with their Grammy
We were right behind a little two-foot brick wall that was perfect to stand on once things got started, so we had a great view. My mom ended up holding E.J. through the whole thing, while I held Ellie. My left bicep was ROCKING after two hours of holding a 30-pound toddler, let me tell you.
E.J. and his Grammy
Me with my Ellie!
The parade itself was lots of fun, and included all the usual suspects: bands, floats, the football team, fire trucks, etc.
The Pride of the Sunshine Fighting Gator Marching Band!
Albert and Alberta
Pretty fun car!
Another band - this one from the high school where Eric coached football during college!
The Florida Gators' homecoming just would not be complete without a visit from all your Frozen friends, am I right?
The kids did really enjoy it, except when the fire trucks got a little rambunctious with their sirens.
Also not loving it.
Aside from that, though, it was a lot of fun. Ellie seemed to think the parade was essentially a menu of things she could do later, and she kept "choosing" things as they passed by: "I choose the big fire truck! I choose the drums! I choose to ride the brown horse! I choose to say hi to Snowman [Olaf]!" Luckily, she didn't seem to wonder why none of that actually came to fruition. And as for E.J., well, what did I say earlier about him going with the flow?
Bless his heart.