Friday, June 14, 2013

What the? Friday. The Stand Still Parade

 Welcome to WTF,  an occasional Friday blog where I ramble on about some of the amusing, amazing, awe inspiring, or just plain crazy things in the world.

Photo of Stand Still Parade

The little town of Whalen is in the southeast corner of Minnesota, near the bluffs overlooking the Root River and not too far from the Iowa state line. Whalen is the kind of place most people wouldn't know about, a town with a population that doesn't make triple digits (only sixty three counted at the last census). But, back about fifteen years ago, Whalen made the national news. Because fifteen years ago, Whalen became the only town ever to host a stand still parade.
Whalen had long wanted to host a parade, replete with a shiny firetruck, a band, maybe a float or two. The problem was that, unlike New York City which hosts the Macy's parade, Whalen's downtown was a measly one block long. A one block march would take no longer than one blast of the fire engine's horn, one note on the tuba, a few marching steps. In short, Whalen was too short for a parade.
The citizens of Whalen considered their shortcomings and came up with a unique solution. If the parade couldn't march in front of its spectators, the spectators would march around the parade. And so it was that the idea for the first Stand Still Parade was conceived.
CBS got wind of the unique parade and did a feature on it back in 1995. Since then,  1500 visitors stop by each year to march around the parade.
Over the years, there's been some stop and go. It isn't always easy to keep a parade that doesn't go going. But, at least so far, year after year, the parade doesn't march on. And on May 19 of this year, the fire carriage from the Whalen fire department circa 1869, was, as it is every year, polished and then stood still in the middle of Main Street. 

For more on Whalen's Stand Still Parade, click HERE


  1. I love the funny things people do, too. It's nice to know some small towns have a sense of humor. I had never heard of this , being in Canada, but it's not a bad idea for other small towns, too.

    1. I really love quirky. And your right about this being one of those quirky-yet-kinda-brilliant ideas. Maybe they'll start a trend.