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The Kiddie Parade wasn't as fun as video games. Is that it?

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Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2011 4:10 pm | Updated: 5:15 pm, Fri Mar 18, 2011.

Remember the Kiddie Parade? I do!

After decades and decades, it fizzled in 2009.

At a recent meeting of the Lodi-Tokay Rotary Club, someone asked Lodi Downtown Business Partnership Executive Director Jaime Watt what happened to the Kiddie Parade?

I was surprised when she said it wasn't lack of entries. The parade just didn't draw a crowd. Too bad, because we've lost a tradition that has spanned generations. 

My kids were in the Kiddie Parade, back in the '90s. The Lawrence School staff really got behind it and so did many other schools. We have the cutest picture of kindergartner Mike Weybret dressed up as a hayseed farmer with make-up that enhanced his trademark freckles.

Mrs. Nott lead a group of girls in their first cheerleading experience.

"Positions everybody. Now march! Don't forget to smile!"

I don't know why I was surprised you have to teach kids to look happy. But they sure smiled for Jackie Nott.

My first memory of the Kiddie Parade was from the early 1960s. The Flintstones were a brand new TV sensation and Muriel Roget and my Mom Alcyon made caveman costumes for four of us boys.

The Kiddie Parade began in 1937 and didn't even pause for World War II, according to my wife the historian. (Everybody knows I'm Mr. Christi Kennedy, don't they?)

Anyway lots and lots of Lodians have marched in and ridden floats and watched the Kiddie Parade. It was a showcase for kids.

Apparently we modern Lodians are too wired into our iPads and smart phones to enjoy this non-digital tradition. Progress isn't always for the best.

If I sound old, remember, I was a kiddie once, too.

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Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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