As a titleholder, you will participate in many parades. Here are a few survival skills I have picked up over the years that will help make it as enjoyable as possible.
Contact the organizers weeks to months ahead of the event. Every parade has different rules as to who may participate and the type of vehicle that may be driven through the parade route. Assume nothing. Always ask questions for clarification. Some parades have very strict rules about NOT handing anything out along the parade route or throwing things from your vehicle.
Have cling signs with your name and title made shortly after your crowning. Never use any type of tape on your car, not even one time. It’ll ruin the paint. Posters written with markers will run and make a mess in the rain. Magnetic signs are great IF you have a car that has enough steel in it for the signs to stick. The cling ones, for about $20, are the best option. They safely go on the side of any vehicle without damage and are reusable. A good size for your sign is 9” x 24”. Anything smaller than this size people won’t be able to read.
Arrive hours before the actual parade time. Traffic, parking your car and finding your float or vehicle will consume most of your time. If it’s just you, not a court of people, it is best to meet your driver at a location and ride to the parade route together. There is nothing more frustrating that trying to find people in a sea of thousands.
Print out maps, instructions, directions, contact information and anything else you will need for the parade. Don’t depend on your cell phone. You may not get a signal. I always bring a set of Motorola walkie talkies in addition to our cell phones.
Dress in layers, bring umbrellas, gloves, earmuffs, camera, business cards, pageant brochures, flashlights, foot warmers, hand warmers, sunglasses, cash, bottled water, lap blanket, cream colored bathroom rug (it has the grip stuff on the bottom so you won’t slid off the hood of your car) a portable chair, snacks, hand wipes, small packet of tissues (for when the port potties run out )and know where your car keys are at all times.
Don’t wear your expense gowns and shoes outside. Keep in mind you will be outside with the sun, wind, rain, and snow for several hours. Floats and cars are dirty and get hot. I always had parade attire aka clothes and shoes I wouldn’t cry about if they got ruined by the elements; and inside appearance clothes. Same thing goes for jewelry or any other accessory you might bring with you.
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Rhonda Shappert is an expert pageant coach, an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation (ICF).
She created Winning Through Pageantry® to partner with pageant contestants and their support people to provide complete pageant preparation, achieve winning results in life through pageantry, and to Succeed From The Inside Out®.
She has over 30 years experience in the pageantry world as a contestant, judge, emcee, staff member, mother of daughters who compete, Mrs. Ohio America 2005, and has held multiple titles at the local, state and national levels.
Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from The Ohio State University and has performed on stage in 15 countries on the Asian, European and American continents. This mother of three home educates their children and has been married 22 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. She and her husband perform original contemporary Christian music. For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com .