Best Parade (2006)

Martin Luther King Day Parade

Far too many parades are bogged down by rinky-dink floats, processions of skinny high school kids in silver helmets and quasi-military uniforms, and convertibles full of D-list local dignitaries. Screw that. Parades should be about bands -- bands that bring the big beat. And no parade in H-town booms like MLK Day. For the first time in years, 2005's MLK Day Parade was a unified affair, with the two rival organizers joining forces for a near-nonstop cavalcade of funk. Every historically African-American high school band from Worthing and Sterling on the south side to Smiley and Forest Brook on the north -- not to mention Texas Southern University's Ocean of Soul -- all brought the noise: thunderous drum lines, blasting horns and majestically sashaying majorettes. Marching bands, especially African-American ones, are one of America's foremost native arts, and there are few places better to see them than at Houston's MLK Day Parade. (And this year conquering hometown hero Vince Young was the grand marshal, to boot.)


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