3 Useful Tips to Help Parents Survive the Raymond Parade

Since I've got family ties to Raymond, I've been to almost every July 1st parade in Raymond for the last ahem...37 years. I'm a bit of an insider/outsider when it comes to Raymond — my mom is from Raymond but I live in the small rival town of Cardston. If you've never been to the Raymond Parade before I would like to offer you a few helpful tips.

Tip 1 - The Daddy/Mommy Tax

The Raymond Parade is as predictable as it gets — small town with many large Mormon families = plenty of frenzied kids scrambling for candy that is thrown from the passing floats. I'll often wait until the event is over before I remind my kids of the "daddy tax," then I proceed to cherry pick from their stash. I find it takes less effort — and is more socially acceptable — to just collect on the backend instead of being "that dad," who edges out little kids for a piece of saltwater taffy.

Keep this tax in mind throughout the year as it will come in handy at birthday parties, Halloween, and any other family gatherings involving food/treats. Remember, consistency is key, if you don't tax frequently enough, there will be upheaval when you try to collect. I've been so consistent with this tax that my kids now just smile, shrug their shoulders and pass over the loot.  

If you don't have kids, consider attending the parade with a niece or nephew. You might need to take some extra time before the parade starts to prime them a little, suggesting the idea of "sharing" some sweets with their favourite aunt/uncle.    

Tip 2 - Buddy System, Senior Style

If you don't want to get wet during the parade, it is advisable to be really close to a senior citizen as the soaker floats go by. If you happen to be attending the parade with extended family, you can just cuddle up to your grandpa/grandma for a minute. If you don't have a senior citizen with you, borrow somebody else's grandpa/grandma or consider bringing an umbrella. Despite the fact that the kids on soaker floats are all punks, most of them will either:

1. Still have enough respect for the elderly or,

2. Not have good enough aim to chance it.

Last year we got a little rain at the Raymond Parade so the soaker floats didn't even seem that threatening — my camera bodies/lenses are weather sealed anyway. 

Tip 3 - Get There Early and Pick Your Spot Wisely

If you do go to the Raymond Parade, you'll often see families with 4 generations stacked alongside the parade route on lawn chairs, truck tailgates and blankets on the road. Along the main drag, people are often packed in pretty tight. The locals are aware of this congestion so families often stake out their spot along the parade with vehicles/lawn chairs a day or two before. If you drive into town the night before the parade, don't be alarmed if you see streets lined with empty lawn chairs. 

If you're coming into town the day of the parade, consider getting there early. Parking can be tricky once the town starts blocking off the streets. It is useful to have a couple lawn chairs with you or a blanket so you can "claim" your turf. As the time for the parade draws nigh, things will have a tendency to fill up — having tangible placeholders can be helpful.   

If you want more candy it might be a good idea to situate yourself near the start of the parade on a side street. Side streets are usually less congested than the main drag. There are also many inexperienced and eager candy throwers on the floats, many of which deplete their stock before the latter portion of the parade. If you want to limit the amount of candy your children consume, consider finding a spot near the end of the parade.