Loud, long, loopy- The people's parade

Without a doubt, the Dogwood Parade can lay claim to the title of "most attended community event in Charlottesville." Like its closest rival, First Night, it's a little hokey here and there, but for the most part it's a lot of fun. On Saturday, April 24, under a picture-perfect cloudless day, everyone savored the best, the worst, the political– and sometimes the awkward– displays of human ingenuity and foolishness.

The parade's loop around the Downtown Mall and the ever-widening gaps between acts conspired to push the event over two hours. The spectacle included fire trucks, marching bands, beauty queens (by the dozen), floats, marchers, horses, bikes, peddlers–and, of course, Shriners on noisy tiny cars– with no accidents this year! Sidewalks were packed shoulder to shoulder and about four deep from Water Street around to Market.

It's amazing to see how much little kids get into watching the parade. It's a bit of sensory overload, and the flying candy can be hazardous if you're not looking, but it's fun, exciting, inspiring– and often just loopy.

Just another reason it's fun to live in America's #1 city.

Future leaders of the world, the Bright Stars Preschool pile up.

Miss Albemarle on the left. Miss Buckingham on the right. And the other county Misses in between.

Karla Norman and Erika Uhlig, Miss and Teen Miss Albemarle County Fair.

Dogwood Parade... big, long, and loud

No, not beauty queens, but the Virginia Glamour Queens

Shriners are so cool.

Ben Troyer is mesmerized by the spinning flags.

The daredevil Shriners dodge each other in their little carts.