Ah Oak Park. IL your 4th of July parade was unexpected and very underwhelming. Do not get me wrong this was great for kids, families and that kind of thing but it was like a homecoming parade in scale and fanfare than anything else. I believe this parade may have been mentioned in the Oak Park, IL newsletter, you know one of those multipage flyers no one really looks at, but I was taken by surprised that it was occurring.
As I stated there was no fanfare or mention on local Television stations regarding the parade which is great for the exclusive Oak Park, IL (non-social) residents but does nothing for those who are trying to travel into and out of the area, whether they are residents or just passing through. Plus, there was only a small part (I saw at least) or entry where veterans were represented and participated I wish there was more, since they helped keep this freedom of expression still possible.
If you were trying to see what businesses that were open in Oak Park, IL on the fourth and there were quite a few, you would have the headache of driving around Oak Park, IL to get pass this parade on Ridgeland avenue. There were no signs reminding people there was a parade nor, were there any signs stating that the parade was going on at blockade points on the various side streets. This would have been a great chance to promote Oak Park, IL and its local businesses, giving times of the parade and the old where it starts plus where it ends would give residents (who have other things to do) and visitors to Oak Park, IL the needed information to either join in enjoying this parade or simply navigate around it without getting a headache.
This is classic Organization Development 101 telling the people what is going on is essential for any event, product, etc., to become a success, it also helps the participants of such events increase their visibility too. Instead of engineering an event that looked like a parade for one of the local high school’s winning a national championship.
I do have to point out that many local businesses were out there being promoted -YES! This the kind of thing that needs to be done here in Oak Park, IL giving these businesses a push in the right direction and telling the residents who knew about this parade and attended a chance to “see” what businesses are out there. Most of the tie we are all so busy that we pass by a place and state “that is interesting” in your heads, but never go in. This type of event strokes that curiosity pushing the individual to actually patronize the business or at least walk into the door. Giving the business a face and humanity helps in bringing in customers.
At the parade, this on a basic level some of the signs were very professional and others were on poster board. There was candy thrown to children from these businesses without any type of logo or branding on it that I saw from the ones I picked up off the ground. No, I did NOT eat candy off the ground I picked it up because I wanted to see if there was a logo, really! This was a good attempt on Oak Park, IL to promote businesses by alas it was a failure, there was no uniformity when it came to the businesses’ signs.
Which is really crazy when you think about it, this is the village that will spend about 133k on updating the signage around here, but cannot help or set requirements for this parade to make it an effective promotional tool for these business participants. Also the fact that the candy was thrown, not given or handed to only children, not us sugar loving adults, did not help. Handing promotional material to adults who are the ones who would spend money in these businesses that are participating in the parade is essential, it cements the connection at the event between the business and potential customer.
Although it was very blah, it was an attempt but I am not one of these new age fools who gives out awards to everyone who participates, either you succeed or you are forgotten. This was a fourth of July parade that besides surprising me by its existence and all the trouble it gave me to get around, the event itself was very forgettable.
Please note I did think I saw Chicago anti-violence activist, Andrew Holmes there, on the east side of the parade, I am not sure why, but I have seen him multiple times on TV and I am pretty sure it was him. Again, everything else about this parade was memorable, nothing exciting or make me tell my neighbors, family or friends,” hey see you at the parade…” not at all.
Has anyone else experienced this “blah” or underwhelming effort at other Fourth of July parades or was it just that this event organized by Oak Park, IL was so bad?
I have videos as well: