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An Inside Look At The Buffalo Grove Days Parade

Co-Chairman Rodney Odelson explains that much planning is required to pull off a successful parade. This year's begins at 1 p.m. Sept. 4.

If you’ve never organized a parade, you might think there’s not much to it. You make a list of participants, line them up and tell them to march. Right?

Not quite.

Buffalo Grove resident Rodney Odelson, co-chairman of the , reveals that certain concerns must be taken into account.

For instance, “I put the horses toward the back of the parade in case there’s an accident,” he said. “I don’t need any participants stepping in something that could be avoided.”

Some parade units blast music from their floats. Odelson keeps track of those units, and places them far enough from the marching bands to ensure all can be heard without interruption.

And those entertaining Shriners, who travel by horse, car and motorized “flying carpets” and coolers? While their organization is best-known for raising money for their eponymous children’s hospitals, as a safety measure, their units — eight in all — are assigned spots away from children.

And that’s just the beginning. Odelson and parade co-chair Lee Orlov, who took the parade committee’s helm last year, begin planning the event in February.

Odelson said while parade applications aren’t accepted until later, he spends the months before Buffalo Grove Days attending parades in other communities to see which units he’d like to recruit for his hometown event.

This year’s parade will feature and as grand marshals, the five winners of the , baton twirlers, Buffalo Grove Scout troops, clowns, Model T Fords and emergency vehicles from the and nearly a dozen other nearby towns.

It will also include a tribute to Joe Tenerelli, who organized the parade for 25 years before turning the reins over to Odelson. .

“We’re going to have a banner with his name in his honor,” Odelson said.

Buffalo Grove Days co-Chair Paulette Greenberg said Tenerelli also would have been thrilled to know that his favorite attraction, the Great Lakes Navy Band, will be part of this year’s parade.

Former Village Manager Bill Brimm and former trustee Chuck Johnson will serve as announcers. The parade will be taped, and footage will be played on Buffalo Grove’s local access cable channel (Comcast Channel 6) the next week.

The parade, which lasts about two hours, will include about 95 units in all. Judges will award plaques to the most original group, best marching band, a civic group and a youth group.

It is such an anticipated event in that spectators begin setting out blankets and chairs along Bernard Drive the night before, Odelson said.

The day of the parade, committee members will arrive at about 9 a.m. to begin directing participants to their assigned spaces, Odelson said. In addition to making sure that horses bring up the rear and musical groups are separated, volunteers also strategically place emergency response vehicles to ensure they can make a quick exit if a call comes in.

“It’s a lot of work putting it together. I’m not going to say it isn’t,” said Odelson, who said he learned the ropes from Tenerelli, and that he could not pull off the event without the support of a dedicated team of volunteers, including Orlov and Ken Lazar.

The parade begins at 1 p.m. Sept. 4 at Bernard and Regent drives. It will proceed east on Bernard to Raupp Boulevard, then head north to St. Mary’s Parkway.

Rick Kahen August 30, 2011 at 01:09 PM
Please also note that there is extra handicapped parking at Alcott Center & a small area in front of Alcott reserved for wheelchair users to enjoy the parade

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