The holiday season is in full swing, which means plenty of performance opportunities for cloggers! The latest for Fancy Free Cloggers was the Hometown Holidazzle lighted parade in Wilmington, Ohio!
First, the name "Hometown Holidazzle" is adorable and fun to say! Second, the town goes all out for this event!
I wish I had a photo of the parade grandstand, but couldn't get one since I was IN the parade! It was shining and flashing like Vegas! Way to go, Wilmington!
The floats/riding units were covered in lights, including a Grinch moving on the firetruck ladder and an amazing Polar Express!
For the parade lineup, walking units intermingled with floats/riding units. The walking unit ahead of us (separated from us by floats, etc.) was the local Star Wars group! One of these Star Wars experts helped Fancy Free Cloggers with a major project this year, and the whole group holds a special place in our hearts! I snagged a pic with a few of them before they were bedecked in full lighted glory. Gotta love that even BB-8 has a holiday costume!
The Blanchester High School marching band followed us, again separated by riding units. They looked splendid with lights on their uniforms! The flag corps wielded what I assume was their usual flag poles, but covered in lights instead of flags. The lighted poles spinning in unison created dramatic blurred illusions in the dark.
Each clogger got to assemble his/her own outfit within the guidelines of looking festive/elfy with lots of lights! I used parts and pieces of old clogging outfits, socks from a Strawberry Shortcake Halloween costume, green workout leggings, and a Santa hat which has seen many a Christmas clogging show! Then, I added LIGHTS!!!
I fashioned a strand of battery-powered LED lights into a necklace. These lights are easily found for cheap this time of year. The biggest issue is figuring out how to secure the battery pack. Don't know what you fellers do, but the advantage of wearing a sweatshirt with a shirt underneath for warmth meant that the battery pack could be tucked into the bra without showing! (Addendum: Reader Chris asked about the battery pack heating up. The LED strand I used was advertised as staying cool to the touch, and this also held true for the battery pack. However, stuffing the battery pack into the bra is probably not the safest idea overall. Chris suggested clipping the lights to a waistband. Thanks for raising this issue!)
My teammate Sabrena handled the situation better: she fashioned a sort of fanny pack from the pocket of an old pair of jeans! This tied under her Christmas tree skirt, and held the light strand battery packs securely throuhought the parade.
In addition to the basic strand of lights, I found two accessories for the lighted parade which made me happy: shoelaces and gloves!
My shoelaces were green, with LED lights inside. (They are available in other colors.) They are longer than a normal clogging shoelace, and I was afraid to lace the shoes tightly due to concerns about stretching the wiring. However, these lights were bright and showed up in every photo I saw of the parade. They had a static mode and a couple flashing modes at different speeds. You can find them here:
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My FAVORITE purchase for this parade was hands down (See what I did there?) the lighted gloves! The gloves had 6 modes of lights. I will be finding more reasons in my life to wear these gloves! You can find them here:
The cloggers had great fun in the parade, waving to the crowd and dancing the choreography of Highway 40 Blues (with forward movement the entire time) to a Christmas song! For clogging in a parade, I highly recommend using simple choreography that is easy to move.
A teammate's husband declared he could hear us well before he saw us in the parade, and we sounded like a team of horses! (I think that's a good thing?)
One teammate experienced a humorous wardrobe malfunction when a light strand came loose and started to unravel from his leg! (Fortunately, the parade was almost finished at that point.) Dustin managed to perform a quick fix in the street and keep dancing like a pro!
After the parade, we were given cookies! (Hurray!) Robin, one of the event organizers, was kind enough to drive us back to the school to retrieve our vehicles. Thanks, Robin! We appreciate the ride AND the work you and many others put into making this evening happen!
The lighted parade was delightful! I'm feeling the Christmas spirit now!
Thank you to the people of Wilmington and Hometown Holidazzle!
Do YOU have any tips for dancing in a night parade?