A parade is great if you're in it. It's about half that great if you're not in it, but you have a child or grandchild who is and it's about half of that half if you're just watching for whatever entertainment value the parade might hold. (That figure increases slightly if the parade features multi-million dollar special effects like Disney or young women exposing themselves for plastic beads like Mardi Gras.)
For the rest of the world, a parade is pretty much just and obstacle to traffic and a nuisance. The nuisance factor is exaserbated by the size of the parade (and the amount of traffic it blocks) and the noise and garbage factors.
The trash factor is not negligible. The Mal's St Patricks Day Parade, besides enough beer bottles to open a pub, has in the past left dog shit and dirty diapers in the small space in front of my business, several blocks away from the parade itself. They do a pretty good job of cleaning up, and within 24 hours most of that stuff is gone, but still, if you're not in the parade, it just isn't very pleasant.
Today they had the Jackson State Homecomming parade. They've been having the Jackson State Homecomming parade every year for my entire life. You'd think, by now, everybody involved would have it down to a science. Not so. You never saw so much confusion and mess for one marching band in your life.
The worst part was the traffic detours. The parade stretched from the campus itself to the fairgrounds, which meant it split downtown in half with almost no possible way to get from one side to the other. The detours lead to nowhere, mostly moving you to dead ends or stuck, the wrong way, on a one way street.
Twice I stopped to ask the police officer or homeless person or whoever was directing traffic at intersections how to get around it, and all they could say was "follow the signs". Well, the signs lead to nowhere. Eventually, I was able to cross Capitol street somewhere around The Stewpot and wind my way back up to court street and finally to my destination.
So, I called city hall to find out what went wrong and let them know what they were doing just wasn't working very well. Nobody knew and nobody cared. One lady told me, it was Jackson State and I just had to put up with it. I suppose she was an alumi.
So if you're ever in a position to plan a parade or be in a parade or even just watch a parade, keep one thing in mind. It's great for you, but for the rest of the world who's not involved in your little event, a parade can be a huge pain in the ass.