And yet, I assure you that real people live here, dodging in and out of the many visitors who sometimes forget that they can't just stop in the middle of the road to check the map they picked up at the visitor's center. We welcome the tourists and schedule wonderful events for them (Concours d'Elegance, Bach Festival, AT&T golf tournament) but sometimes we like to throw a little party just for us.
The Carmel Birthday Parade is an event for the locals. The town founders were brilliant enough to incorporate the town on October 31, 1916 so every year on the Saturday closest to Halloween, we throw ourselves a little birthday bash complete with a parade. This isn't your usual type of parade, there are no marching bands or floats. This is a real community parade where everyone is welcome to participate. All town organizations are invited to have a car in the parade or to walk behind a banner. The police and fire departments haul out their shiniest equipment to drive up and down Ocean Avenue with lights and sirens going off every few seconds.
The best part, however, is that anyone that would like to walk behind all the cars is welcome. So, many of us turn out every year in our best costumes (or not) and wave at all the bystanders on the sidewalks. There are lots of children in costume but, Carmel being Carmel, the kids are usually outnumbered by all the dogs...in costume.
Here are a few photos from yesterday's parade to show you why it's my favorite event of the year.
Of course the most amazing dog in the parade was my darling Shifu.
But there were many other cute dogs there too.
And look, we even had kids in the parade!
It wouldn't be a 2014 Halloween event without an Elsa. I heard that this year's Halloween drinking game will be to take a drink every time an Elsa shows up at your door on Friday. Good thing the next day is Saturday!
Marching down main street - Ocean Avenue.
Our police department has only the most modern of equipment, of course! Isn't that car a beauty. I wish they'd let me take a ride in it one day.
When it's all over the whole town heads to the local community center for hot dogs and chips. At $5/person, it's the best deal in town...by a long shot!
Oh no, Shifu is dismayed that we've reached the end and it's time to go home.