This is the 20th annual Flower Festival. The Flower Festival has entered the Major Leagues. It is now a Very Serious and Important Festival. The past is minor league by comparison.
We took up residence near the beginning of the parade in the direct flow of the many groups participating. The costumes were all spectacular:
The reviewing stand was larger, the floats were more elaborate, though strangely similar. Marshals in uniform were more in evidence, officials walking alongside the floats, intruding in the frame of otherwise perfect photos.
On the big screen a mere 100 meters from the reviewing stand, I could see there were more high school bands playing American classics, more performances in front of the reviewing stand, some lasting 10 minutes and holding up the entire show.
The pace was slower (sometimes excruciatingly so), the officials spoke longer, the costumes were more elaborate, headdresses more colorful. The makeup was more intense. It seems every high school and regional government participated.
There were hoop skirts, feather boas, more gold, more noise, more waving beauties and, of course, more flowers.
There was one thing that was pretty much the same: big smiles on all the faces, exuberance, good cheer, wonder, appreciation, civic pride, no trash, camaraderie and far more good pics than I can fit here.