Let’s be honest: short of Bob Uecker running shirtless down Wisconsin Avenue, or Sheriff Clarke declaring himself Emperor and issuing Order 66 (a distinct possibility, depending on how things pan out), nothing can possibly divert Milwaukee’s attention away from today’s Presidential Election. (Go vote, by the way.) Nothing. Nothing at all. So fuck it. Let’s just watch the City of Festivals Parade from 1987, shall we?
First of all: remember the City of Festivals Parade? Conceived in 1982 by then-Milwaukee mayor Henry Maier, and first staged on June 26, 1983, the parade was intended as a replacement for the Great Circus Parade, which had been absent from Milwaukee for more than a decade. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, roughly 350,000 people lined Wisconsin Avenue to soak in the sights and sounds of the inaugural parade, which was presided over by grand marshal Charlotte Rae—a.k.a. Mrs. Garrett from The Facts Of Life (!) After the Great Circus Parade returned in 1985, the two parades coexisted for a number of years. Finally, in the mid ’90s, the City of Festivals Parade was shelved. The City of Festivals no longer had a City of Festival Parade.
But fuck that, because the 1987 installment of the City of Festivals Parade was a doozy. Thanks to the Milwaukee-area-focused Retro Video Archives YouTube channel, we can now relive all the “fun, color, and excitement” of the nearly 30-year-old shindig. It’s all here: live coverage from TV-6 hosts Nancy Chandler, Mike Miller, Jill Geisler, Joanne Williams, and a dapper Tom Pipines; marching bands and floats; go karts and horses; the First Wisconsin Briefcase Drill Team; a float celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Grand Avenue Mall (skip to 1:43:10); and Rainbow Bright and Marie Osmond for some reason. Plus, the video comes complete with all the original 1987 commercials! Fun!
Happy voting, Milwaukee.