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I appreciate how, when taking part in something annually, you can be awarded opportunities to meet that activity/event anew.

Friends carry a float at Wake Up The Earth

This year, we watched the Wake Up the Earth parade from what we thought was the middle of the route (later, we learned differently.) My partner sipped his coffee and I fiddled with my camera, trying to appear invisible to an intensely compelling group of children-on-stilts and their cheerful parents. The tall crew had gathered and were waiting to join the parade from the end of Paul Gore Street, right in front of the Connelly Branch of the Boston Public Library.

Kids on stilts wait for the parade

Stilt walker boy practices with pink flamingo puppet

We heard the drums first. Then the kids, most of whom had been walking in place so as to be prepared to join mid-stride, struck out.

Participants announce the parade with Wake Up The Earth signs

Kids on stilts join the parade!

My partner and I didn’t see it, but apparently this was repeated further along the route as three separate parades -each originating from and representing different neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and Roxbury– merged into one then continued together down Lamartine Street, landing finally at the festival.

Woman and man hoola-hoop in parade

Baby dressed as flower with her dad

The Dudley Square contingent hoist banners

Littlest cheerleeders

Young martial artists demonstrate their form

Littlest stilt-walker with his mom