Thursday, November 15, 2018

Behind the scenes with the Parade operations team...

Behind the scenes--parade operations:

This is the final installment of our three part series highlighting what goes on behind the scenes for preparation for our Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.  The Parade Spectacular is one of the largest helium balloon parades in the country, featuring everyone’s favorite giant balloon characters, award winning marching bands, and fabulous floats.  It takes over 1500 volunteers and staff to run the parade each year. 
Role: Banners and Banner holder manager
Name:  Jim
Role Description:
Jim manages the set up, organization and deployment of  the 39+/- banners, usually carried by local cheerleaders,  that are used in the parade to announce each group marching down the route.

When Jim is at his  9-5 job as an engineering manager at ASML in Wilton and in his spare time volunteering as a referee for various sports teams, he always has the Stamford Parade on his mind. Volunteering for the Stamford Downtown parade for the last 17 years as banner manager is one of the highlights of the holiday season for Jim.  It all starts in July as he starts contacting Stamford Youth Cheerleader Head to secure his holders. He's always keeping an ear out for volunteers.

On parade day, during the 7am banner set up,  his team unrolls each banner and places them on specials hand held poles.  This process can take over and hour.  Then he issues the banners down the street to the proper balloon, float or unit below Oak Street.  When the parade steps off at noon, his banner team feeds in each banner holder as they are called to line up. 
He really enjoys being part of the Parade operations team.  However, Jim made sure to tell me that the most important things on parade day, to him and his team, is not to lose a cheerleader. It reminded him of one year when exactly that happened.  He was happy when they found her safely with her parents.    One of his favorite things about the parade is working with such a respectful and professional team.  Jim boasted, "I live in Stamford and I love this city."


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