If your were anywhere in downtown Los Altos over the weekend you might have wondered why there where scores of folding chairs lined up along Main and State streets. The early placement of empty chairs signified the battle for curb position and the best viewing spots for last night’s Festival of Lights Parade. As the parade has increased in size, more and more people are “reserving” their favorite spot in which to view the parade. The official start time for the parade was Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m., but I saw a spot “reserved” Friday evening. Mysteriously, it had disappeared the following morning. Did the organizers of the parade remove it or was it someone else who was vying for that spot? We’ll never know.
Instead of just placing a chair on the curb or a blanket (or tarp) on the ground, a recent strategy has been to “block off” a location with duck tape or street chalk. It’s cheaper and one can “reserve” larger plots of curbage with minimal effort. Just remember to include your name somewhere on the ground or it may be taken. Once people marked their coveted spots, they returned between 5:00 -6:00 and officially set up.
Several businesses that occupy second floor offices opened their offices for friends and family to view the parade from above. I imagine the view might be good, but one can’t get the true essence of the parade without being immersed in the crowds. Its like going to a hockey game and sitting in a luxury suite. You can’t feel the excitement of the crowd or the sound of a body crumpling against the glass after a huge body check when you’re sitting in a luxury suite miles from the action.
Securing a great viewing position for the parade is only half the job. Enjoying the parade is what its about and Los Altans have been doing this for 30 years. When I walked around I saw people enjoying themselves and the evening.
The following is a list of items that many parade goers shared in common:
If you are in town next year, plan to “reserve” your spot early and plan on having a great time.