A bright colourful and noisy walk through the town, often combined with the games.
Often used as a means to repay the local town for any help/assistance they have given to BJC
A parade is an easy way to get about half the BJC attendance off site, if necessary. It is also a cover for the situation where you need to bus people to the venue for the games and/or show, but the only suitable bus drop-off is some distance away. However it requires a good number of "marshals" who must be familiar with the parade route, in order to make sure everyone ends up in the right place.
The attendance of a BJC is somewhere between 600 and 1200. If half of these go to the parade that's 300-600. A bus holds about 40 people. That's between 7 and 15 buses that will need to drop off in a short period of time, and a large volume of people that will need to be accommodated safely at the start and end of the parade.
If your Parade is a way to get your jugglers to the Public Show then you will have to transport them all. Even more buses.
You will also need to get permission from the council/police to hold a parade, and you may be asked to pay substantial amounts of money to cover the costs of road closures etc.
Additional complications can arrive because many town centres are now privately owned. An extreme example would be the centre of Middlesbrough which is car-free, but owned by three different companies, in order to organise a Parade in Middlesbrough would involve discussions with all three.
BJC 2008 used its sports hall as a show venue. This meant that from 10am on Saturday most of the indoor space was unavailable. We used a parade as a way to get people off site and out of the way. However, we lost the co-operation of the local council and ended up using a parade route through industrial estates and housing. Then after that "rain stopped play" and the whole thing was a wash-out.
BJC 2010 had no parade at all. The games were held on site. Several people commented favourably: they said
- they wanted to watch the games but didn't have patience for a parade
- they wanted to watch some of the games but be able to leave easily when it got boring
- they liked the fact that the site was busy on Saturday (and lots of workshops running, etc).
Some people said that they were disappointed to have no parade.
BJC 2010 originally planned a lot of complicated parade entertainment, local schools involvement, etc, but beware that this kind of thing can require a LOT of organisation time and is not something that the jugglers are paying for.
BJC 2007 and BJC 2008 both had Arts Council funding for the town centre entertainment. In both cases one dedicated volunteer was in charge of applying for funding and for organising the spending of the funding (this is a big job). In 2007 this was very successful; in 2008 a combination of lack of council co-operation and bad weather made it a washout. See External Funding.
Who is your parade for? The simplest view is to say that the parade is for the jugglers who are in it (and have indirectly paid you for the cost of it).
Perhaps you have received funding for the parade, in which case it's probably also for the local residents and users of the town centre.
Perhaps you would just like to give back to the town.... and have managed to pull some budget and some organisation time from somewhere or other.
You should decide which of these things is your approach, then make sure to bear this in mind when you are deciding just how fabulous the parade should be and how much time and money you are prepared to spend on it.
Many parades are led by a Samba band and a section of people juggling, then a long dribble of people shuffling along behind. If you can work on getting the shufflers to look juggly as well it will make the parade look more exciting and a spectacle people would want to see. Maybe give the parade a theme (e.g. juggling pirates) and publicise this theme to convention-goers in advance so they can bring or wear something to fit with the theme.
Some BJCs have had workshops in advance of the parade, e.g. BJC York had drumming workshops. Other possible workshops might include costume making/decorating workshops (for adults as well as children) or making balloon structures to take on the parade.
If you are going for extra fabulousness then you definitely need a dedicated volunteer whose job it is to organise the fabulosity.