Category Archives: Big Cities 2011 – 2012

Miracle on Kansas Avenue – Christmas Light Parade

Have you ever been to a parade on the hottest day of summer and been sprayed with icy cold water from a giant squirt gun as a truck full of teenagers passes along the parade route?

Kind of refreshing isn’t it.

Well I now know what the wintertime equivalent of that feeling is.

A few days ago I went downtown in our state capitol with #7 and L. We were there to help a friend pass out hot chocolate from her shop [which sits right on the route of the Miracle on Kansas Avenue Parade Festivities]; and to watch the parade.

Before the night was over she passed out about 100 cups of sweet warmth to other parade onlookers. They were all very happy to have it and I think she picked up a new client or two along the way.

It was “Shop Small Business Saturday” so there were lots of folks wondering around downtown, there was also a 5K going on [they had blocked off the street early in the afternoon for that], then there was the lighting of the large Christmas tree lit up by the flip of an even greater oversized light switch, we heard carolers, saw families sitting along the parade route wrapped together in blankets to keep warm, it was all a great time up to and including the parade itself. I think I’d have to say this was the best parade I’ve been to in a very long time.

L and I left #7 and her friend to hand out the last of the hot chocolates and we made our way to the curb across the street from the large tree. There we watched the end of the 5K, I was very surprised by how many kids were running in it. I’m talking little kids of 6, 7, 8 years old!

And guess who else was running that 5K….

Santa himself! He was out there getting in shape for his big night.

After the runners were done and found some warm blankets for themselves [which by the way were being sold at a convenient location right there on the main street! Someone had a good idea.]; there was a speech, carols, and just as it was good and dark the large tree was lit up with the flip of that huge switch.

About the time we were starting to “dance” around to keep warm and I was beginning to shiver making it impossible to hold the camera still. The parade started…

There were entries of every kind from friendly drive-in car hops on roller skates handing out free coupons to a mean looking roller derby team. There was the usual candies being tossed out to the crowd and a huge truck from Frito-Lay tossing out little bags of chips. We saw Santa many times; he was on a motorcycle, on trucks, in trailers, in sleighs, walking along side that creepy looking Predator from those horror movies, and even being pulled along by the Grinch.

We saw the Grinch several times too. Once he even ran right up to the camera yelling “Take my picture! Take my picture!”

…so I did.

There were hot rods, classic cars, fire trucks, tractors, skateboards, boats, horse drawn wagons…; and everything was lit up best they could with Christmas lights.

But my favorite part of the parade, and I think just about everyone’s favorite, passed by just about the time that we had gotten so cold we could  no longer feel our fingers and toes or stop the shivering. It was a parade entry from the hot air balloon club…

They had 6 burners on the backs of two floats and as they went along the parade route they fired them up and shot flames up into the cold night sky. That is the wintertime equivalent of those squirt guns on the hottest day of summer. As the burners flamed up along the way you could hear the crowd sigh in warm relief and then cheer as they flamed up again. I was really hoping that there would be a pause as they passed by us and that they would have to stick around a while; but no such luck.

We did however get several blast of warm air as they slowly moved on down the road. Yep; I think that may have been my favorite part of the night.

Oh and all the awesome lights too!






If you would like to see more parade photos check them out at


Still Stitching Topeka Back Together

I took some time this afternoon to do a little more work on those rooftop photos from April. This time I started out stitching 6 more images but when it was done I didn’t like the way one end turned out so I just decided it needed some cropping. Now I guess you would say that this new panoramic is made from about 5 or 5 1/2 images.

I’ll share the second one with you again and this third one stitched today; I’m not happy with that first one anymore so I won’t post it again.

Topeka April 2012 #2

Topeka April 2012 #3

If these two were to be stitched together the 3rd one would be to the left of the 2nd one and there would be at least one more image filling in the gap between them.

It’s a learning process but I’m slowly getting this figured out! I have lots more photos from this same shoot to practice with; I was able to shoot from three sides of the building and two corners. I took a lot of pictures that day.