Some readers may recall the original Owl Parades in Henderson. The Blue Book tells us that the Owl Parade first came into play in 1936 as "the brain child of an organization called the Owl Club, whose membership was shrouded in mystery and lost in antiquity." The lead act in the parade was a John Deere tractor that boasted papier-mache decor and owl-like headlights. (Sources advise that Dorothy Bender constructed the actual owl mascot that garnished the front of the tractor, although we're not sure what year that came into existence.) As history explains, the midnight-ish 'owlers' had a whole heck of a lot fun. Likely too much fun. In 1962 the festival planner cancelled the event with nary a regret.
Ten short years ago Kraut Krew execs tossed around the idea of rebirthing the Owl Parade. The sole reason? Bringing more folks to the festival grounds on Saturday night. It was sort of a trial and error attempt at building up Saturday evening's activities. There's been trial, for sure, but no error. Ten years have passed since the dawn of the revival, and the crowd size seems to get bigger every year. (We refer to the crowd as "watchers", we'll circle back to that later.)
Who can imagine the last ten years of kraut festivities without the giddy anticipation of the Saturday night Owl Parade? It's what summers in Henderson are made of. Let us refresh your senses by recalling some beloved acts:
The overzealous lawn chair slapping of the KCHK Wannabes
Bike riding apes (more lovingly referred to as old world monkeys), dancing apes, apes doing pilates, apes being dragged, apes as specators, apes in your face at the corner of N 6th and Main
The bone chilling sounds of bagpiping ballplayers
Brilliant lawn mower choreography
A rousing performance by the Jamaican Bobsled team
Mens Zumba (enough said)
The perplexing sight of red grapes dangling upon your neighbor's nether region
The Owl Parade tradition should, and really must, continue. But it cannot continue without more do-ers. The watchers, many who've become fanatics over the last few years, vastly outnumber the do-ers by about 100 to 1. Not only are the Owl Parade do-ers a scant few in number, but they're just plain fatigued. Pooped out from years of entertaining the watchers.
We vigorously applaud the groups and individuals who've managed to derive a mini freak show at every single Owl Parade, year after year for the last ten years. You should applaud them too. But it's only a matter of time before the bagpipes start weeping, apes can no longer manage a two-wheeler, the Mens Zumba group fizzles to extinction, or the grapes simply dry up.
The Kraut Committee implores you, yes you, to join. WE. NEED. YOU. Grab your neighbor, or your grandmother, or your buddies from high-school, or your bowling team and join in the fun. The Owl Parade isn't about ingenious performance, it's about the spirit of participation and unbridled buffoonery. It's about playing a small yet vivid part in history.
Please help make this the biggest and best Owl Parade ever. If you are interested, please e-mail Meghan Graham at Meghan.Graham14@gmail.com with your group name and a description of what you will be doing or performing!
The Kraut Krew