Sunday, September 4, 2011

5th annual Miracle Mile Parade

Without a doubt, Saturday's running of the annual Miracle Mile Parade down Madison Avenue on the Southside of Indianapolis was the hottest of the five held since the tradition was launched in 2007. According to local weather forecasters, the day's high temperature reached 100 degrees -- a record for the day -- at 2:30 p.m., which is about when the parade was winding down (it had started at 1 p.m.).

I saw a lot of parade participants passing around or dipping into bottles of water or Gatorade, as well they should. Some of the parade participants were dressed in very warm clothing -- the Indiana Pacers and Fever mascots and the Haunted House representatives come to mind immediately. Members of the Southport and Perry Meridian marching bands went smart with T-shirts and shorts, while members of the Roncalli and Manual high school bands walked the route in T-shirts and long pants. Those are members of the Perry Meridian unit in the photo leading off this post; I went with a slower than usual shutter speed to try to capture the twirled rifles in "motion," but I might have gone a little slower than I should have with the shutter, because I wasn't quite able to catch the girls as sharply as I would have liked.

For the second year in a row, I chose a position near the end of the milelong route, a spot between Murray and Werges streets, about a block and a half south of my position last year, which was almost in front of Cardwell's Do-It Best Home Center. Near the end of the parade, right about 2:45 p.m., as the Red Hats and Purple Chaps entry passed by me, a Hats/Chaps woman riding a scooter keeled over and hit the pavement, apparently a victim of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Several people -- spectators, Hats/Chaps members and myself -- came to her aid with water and a portable hand fan. Within a few minutes, a Beech Grove Fire Department crew arrived and transported her to seek medical attention.

Here are some more pictures from my parade shoot Saturday.

Above: I lucked out in getting focus and snagging the "between the power lines" illusion for this capture of a helicopter trolling the parade route moments before it started.

Above: The U.S. and Indiana state flags.

Above: A few nice things about my vantage point at the south end of the parade route: the slightly downhill view ... and being able to exploit the sight compression attribute of the long end of the focal range (270mm) on the Tamron telephoto lens I was using. You can see the stoplights at the Madison/East split (foreground), at the Madison/Troy Avenue intersection (red lights farther back) and ... if you squint and look closely, way in the background, you can see the tiny yellow traffic lights at the parade start point at Southern Avenue.

Above: The major not-so-nice thing about my vantage point is that by the time parade participants get here, the crowd has thinned dramatically, so participants who entertain -- such as marching bands and, above, the 500 Gordon Pipers here -- aren't doing much performing. 

Above and below: Members of the Southport High School marching band, who except for the drum section, also weren't doing much performing when they reached me. But, I don't begrudge them for watering up. To do so was very important on this very hot day.

Above: The Perry Meridian band was playing when it walked past where I was stationed. Thanks for that!

Above: Cars are a big deal in the parade every year. Right after the parade ends, the Cruisers Open Car Show -- featuring classic models such as the Corvette above -- begins at Southern Plaza, another mile or so down the road -- and a bit west on East Street from the end of the parade route.

Above: A girl walking the parade route as a member of the Garfield Park Arts Center entry. The GPAC parade participants tried to reflect a variety of the arts and crafts classes and exhibits the center nurtures and supports. 

Above and below: Members of the Emmerich Manual High School Marching Band. Manual is located at Madison Avenue and Pleasant Run Parkway, which is about a quarter-mile north of where the parade starts each year (Madison and Southern avenues), so in that sense, Manual is the parade's "home" marching band. 

Above: Boomer, the mascot of the National Basketball Association Indiana Pacers, gets a hug from a spectator. Boomer had to be one of those parade participants who were broiling in costume on this particular day.
Above: Members of the Murat Shrine Motorcycle Drill Team.
Above and below: The Roncalli High School Marching Band, including (below) some members gratefully accepting some liquid refreshment.

Above: From either Fright Manor Haunted Attractions and/or The Asylum Haunted House. Both were in the parade, and separated by only one other entry, and at this point of the parade, the Red Hats/Purple Chaps woman in front of them had already fallen from her scooter, and people (myself included) were paying most of their attention to her.

Above: Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson.

Above: A Red Hats parade participant, passing by moments before the events below unfolded.

Above and below: I'd already run out to help (I pulled the scooter off her body; the scooter was heavier than I had imagined), and when these many other folks also came out to help, I returned to the curb, thinking this woman would need some room to breathe. A fellow Red Hats member provided a portable hand fan to help cool the woman, and after a while, she seemed well enough to sit up and drink. The three members of the Johnson County Mini-Mystics paused to look in on the woman as they neared the point where she had fallen. Within a few minutes, a Beech Grove Fire Department ambulance crew arrived and transported her elsewhere for formal medical attention.

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