The Cloverdale Rodeo Parade was back May 20—the first time in four years—and by all accounts it was a resounding success.
“It was a nice return,” said Paul Orazietti, the parade organizer. “Things aren’t 100 per cent yet, but they are recovering.”
Orazietti, the executive director of the Cloverdale BIA, said parade attendance was positive, although not record-breaking. He said the crowds were slightly down, but there were still a lot of people that showed up for one of Cloverdale’s longest running events.
“The spirit remains alive and we have a hard-core group of people who come every year to support it,” he added. “So when you look at it that way, it’s exciting.”
Orazietti said several people approached him about helping out with next year’s parade. He said that is a key part of his plan to refresh the rodeo parade, get more people involved in helping to plan it, and add people to the committee that are passionate about it .
He said overall, it was one of the most well-organized parades he’s been a part of. He said it was incident free and he attributes the success to “just going back to the basics” in terms of organization and presentation.
“We need to do more outreach though, we need to do it in a more timely manner. That means getting organized sooner.”
He said parades are becoming more competitive and he’ll look at offering honorariums to try to attract some of the bigger floats that attend the Lower Mainland and Washington State parade circuits. He said the BIA may also look at attending other parades in hopes of some reciprocation on the part of other parade organizers.
“We really need to rebuild a team that can go out and do the parade thing,” he explained. “A lot of it, right now, is concentrating on finding more people to help and more sponsors that want to be aligned with the rodeo parade. And we’re going to try to do that with all our events.”
He said the BIA was missing a lot of parade regulars this year and that hurt, but with a complete year to plan now, and a recent parade under his belt, things are “looking very bright” for next year.
“I’m so proud of my group here in town,” he added. “The group that came to re-energize the rodeo are Cloverdalians. And that’s our base. Once our base settles in, we can grow from there.”
He said the parade highlight for him was seeing the happiness on the faces of the parade-goers.
“The best part of what goes on is the people,” he said. “From that perspective, it’s magical. To see the smiles and sheer joy on people’s faces is indescribable.”