But no, we are humans, so it is more complicated than that. With the Lewiston Roundup Parade coming up Saturday, and in an effort to help you navigate this socially complex experience, we are providing this frequently asked questions on parade etiquette:
Can I reserve a spot along the parade route and come back to it later? Yes, you can. But don’t expect it to still be your spot. Sidewalks are public spaces, so your territory markers are not likely to be honored if you are not present. If a certain viewing location is important to you, go early and bring games, water, snacks and something to sit on.
What if someone is blocking my view? You can move; pushing your way to the front is considered poor parade etiquette. Those who are in front should remember to show courtesy to others: remove items that would interfere with others’ comfort or sight and allow children to move where they can see. Understand if you show up right before the parade begins, it may be difficult to find a comfortable, completely unobstructed location from which to watch.
What am I supposed to do when the American flag goes by in a parade? When the American flag passes in a parade, stand and face the flag with your right hand over your heart; military personnel or veterans should salute the flag in their traditional military style. This is the procedure stated on the American Legion website, and Lewiston Post No. 13 officer Ivan Ulmer confirms it. This is always done for the first flag that passes, he said, and while some choose not to do the same for future flags, it is a way to show respect.
Is it OK to go out into the street if I see someone I know in the parade? Or if there’s a really good piece of candy? Parades are not an interactive experience, except for when parade participants come to the side of the street to engage with spectators. Not only does entering the street pose a safety risk, but it can be inconsiderate to other parade viewers. Willie Deibel, Lewiston Roundup president, reminds parents of small children to keep them to the sides of the street. Float drivers and the Shriners, who are zipping around, are watching out for people, he says, but it helps when kids stay out of the way.
When horses go by, can I pet them? This is a parade, not a petting zoo. Animals have a mind of their own, Deibel says, and they can get spooked if someone unexpectedly jumps out in front of them. Save your curiosity and affection for a time when horses and their riders are expecting you.
I’ve heard the Lewiston Roundup parade is a good source of road apples. Where can I get these and do they make a good pie? “Road apples” are a colloquial term for horse manure; they are found on the street and are the natural result of having horses in a parade. So no, don’t plan on any pie baking after the parade.
When candy is being thrown to the crowds, is it OK to grab it away from kids? No. Unless the kids are your own. And even there, you will likely experience critical looks or comments. Instead, if you think you might need a sweet treat after a hot afternoon of kid-wrangling, consider bringing something with you to enjoy at the parade or head out for treats afterwards.
How close is too close when it comes to grabbing candy that is near horse manure? This is a matter of personal preference. Most children value candy more than sanitary precautions, so if you have particularly enthusiastic children you might consider bringing hand sanitizer.
IF YOU GO
What: Lewiston Roundup parade
When: 1:29 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6
Where: Main Street in Lewiston