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Honesty and the parade chairs

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A South Marion Citizen editorial

It’s obvious that Ocala and Marion County must be one of the most honest places on Earth. Where else could you put perfectly good lawn chairs out by the side of the main street in town, and let them sit there for a week, not expecting them to be stolen?
That’s the case as Ocala gets ready for its annual Christmas parade, which will be this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. It starts at 25th Avenue and works its way west along the Boulevard. Traffic will be a hassle, especially for those trying to pass through from out of town. Local folks know enough to either go to the parade or stay away from the area.
The parade used to be held the first Saturday in December, but a few years ago it was moved. We’re not sure if anyone admitted why, but basically it was because the SEC football championship was the same day, and the Florida Gators were always in the game.
So they moved the parade and, guess what, now the Gators aren’t in it. What is it they say about the best laid plans?
Back to the chairs. They started appearing last weekend, along with yellow tape in some areas, as people marked off areas where they want to bring their families to watch the parade. And there they sit, on the grass between the sidewalk and the road. If I remember my civics classes correctly, that puts them on the right of way, and I’m surprised the big, bad DOT doesn’t come along and make code enforcement people remove them. It is, after all, a state road.
It does look ugly, but people don’t seem to care. They’re going to get their spot for the parade … no first come, first served here, unless it’s a week early.
For those who may be new to the area, or who have never gone to the parade, it’s a great spectacle. It draws more people than any other single event in the county. It draws floats and bands, not all from Marion County, and takes a good while to pass any individual point.
So if you come to the event this Saturday, be prepared to stand behind someone who has had his area staked out for a week. And when it’s over, be patient. It may take you a while to get home.