Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's a Wonderful Parade

I have long been a huge fan of Jimmy Stewart, and the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" has been one of my favorites.  I have the movie poster hanging in my living room, and my family has been forced to name our pets from the movie (our dog is named Bailey, and our cats have been named Clarence, Zuzu, Violet, and Mr. Gower.  We keep trying to acquire an Uncle Billy but so far that hasn't worked out.)  This film is full of sappiness and nostalgia, but it has a good message and I just love to watch it and quote along, annoying everyone around me.

Based in upstate New York, the original town that Capra modeled the movie from is believed to be Seneca Falls.  Every year they host an It's a Wonderful Life festival, and I've never attended, even though I live fairly close by.  That changed this year when my kids were able to ride in the parade thanks to a very kind and funny blogger named Greg, also known as TellingDad.

This connection happened because of the internet, and really it all started with Wil Wheaton.  Yes, Wil Wheaton--aka Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: the Next Generation.  You see, a few years ago I had little idea what Twitter was, but I thought it would be cool to follow some famous people.  Being a Trekkie, I searched for Trek celebrities first, and started following Wil.  Turns out that Mr. Wheaton is pretty much a king of the internet, and through his tweets and blog posts I was introduced or re-introduced to some incredibly awesome things.

Here is a sample list of awesome things I now enjoy thanks to Wil:
The Big Bang Theory, Felicia Day and The Guild, Paul and Storm, Wootstock, ThinkGeek, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Jonathan Coulton, John Roderick and the Long Winters, Bad Astronomer, Nerdist, Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, shirt woot, and  Hyperbole and a Half.

One of my favorite people that I've discovered though Wil is Jenny Lawson, aka the Bloggess.  Jenny is a blogger that lives in Texas, and her hilariously quirky sense of humor matches mine--I thoroughly enjoy her tweets and blog posts.

So, what does this have to do with a parade in Seneca Falls??  Hang on, I'm getting there.

Jenny often recommends other sites that she enjoys, so one day I clicked on a recommended blog site which was Greg's Telling Dad. Greg is a great writer, and his posts always make me laugh.  I had no idea where Greg lived, but some of his posts hinted to the fact that he was in Upstate New York.

Greg bought a fire truck he named Perry, with the intent of using it for fundraisers, parades, etc.  Last month he posted that Perry the fire engine was going to be in the "It's a Wonderful Life Parade".  You see, it turns out that Greg's family lives in Seneca Falls, birthplace of It's a Wonderful Life, and just 20 miles from my home. I commented on his blog post how this year I would take the kids to come watch the parade, and he then invited my family to ride on the truck.

That's right--from Wil Wheaton in California, to Jenny in Texas, to Greg who LIVES JUST DOWN THE THRUWAY FROM ME.

On Saturday we made the drive to Seneca Falls and rode in the parade.  K and E had an absolute blast, and I was relishing the Bedford Falls nostalgia.

This my friends, is why the internet is awesome.

We hear about awful things that happen to people because of the internet--creeps, freaks, cyberbullying, abductions, evil social networking--however, there are many situations where the internet uses its superpower for good.  Social networking made it possible to create a great experience for my family, and it is encouraging when you get to meet strangers that are incredibly nice people.

It was butt biting cold on the parade day, and I worried that my kids would think the entire event was "lame", but when we got in the car to return home both of the kids said "That was awesome!"  That made it a Wonderful Day.
Ethan is waiting for the parade to start

Putting on his gloves--it's getting serious now

I rode on top to make sure Ethan wouldn't fall off.  It was a lot of fun!

Waiting before the parade.  Greg is the tall man just to the left of Katie

I think the actress that played Zuzu might have been riding in that convertible.  So, I could have been 50 feet away from someone that was held by Jimmy Stewart.  Squee!!

People were encouraged to dress up in the 40's era.

Downtown Seneca (Bedford) Falls

Katie chose to walk the route and hand out candy

She had a ball handing out candy

Tell me that isn't the bridge.  That is soooo the bridge.  "Zuzu's petals, Zuzu's petals!"

They boy had fun riding the top of the truck

A cold but very fun afternoon!


  1. I love this post,especially as you were able to make such an amazing connection. The fun that can be had in upstate NY.

  2. I loved following your progression from following Wil to hooking up with Jenny to making your way "home"! It looks like fun was had by all!

  3. I loved your story...I also found Wil (through watching The Guild and reading Felicia's blog) that lead me to The Bloggess that lead me to Telling Dad, that lead me to here...amazing stuff. I loved seeing the parade through your eyes. I have never seen "It's a Wonderful Life" (I think that "A Christmas Story" ruined my desire to ever watch another Christmas movie) but you are among many who are convincing me to give it a go this year.

  4. Thank you everyone! It was a lot of fun. And yay! another Guildie! Sometimes I think that 3 Degrees to Kevin Bacon game should be 3 Degree to Felicia Day or Wil Wheaton.

  5. Oops, I guess it is 6 degrees. Well, you only need 3 when you are talking about Wil or Felicia.