Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Once Upon A Time in Orlando

Once Upon A Time in Orlando

Back in the 90's, a columnist wrote for the Orlando Sentinel by the name of Bob Morris. This man moved on to bigger and better things but while here organized an annual parade, which he dubbed the Queen Kumquat Sashay. He made this a parade for folks who couldn't get into any other parade.

I'll wait while you process the picture in your imaginations.

The Queen Kumquat Sashay went on to become an annual event. The parade started at 4:41pm on any given Saturday that Mr. Morris might pick through the year. Some of the “floats” were hilarious. For instance, a group of women braided their hair together to support a Styrofoam rendition of an actual ice cream float. You had to see the thing to believe the size.

An assembly of men ran the parade route wearing business suits and carrying brief cases. They chased another man wearing a cardboard rendition of an ambulance.

Another group walked the route with nonchalance in their step, wearing everyday street clothes. You had to be directly in front to read the chosen name of their group. (Are you ready?) In black magic marker was written, "Just Some Guys" (snicker).

The parade became so popular the powers that be wanted to offer a follow up to keep everyone downtown and spending. So one year, “Light Up Orlando” began after the end of the parade. A large swath of downtown streets closed to all but foot traffic, and the evening became a family night out to see the lights while various bands set up and entertained on the avenues. What a great time.

But, all good things must come to come to an end. One of the City Councilmen (who shall remain nameless) managed to get the rest of the board to vote in favor of alcohol sales at kiosks during the festivities.

The following year, being pushed and shoved by the crowd, I stepped off the walkway and observed an inebriated young man stumble toward me. He hit his knees, and emptied the contents of his stomach at my feet. Suffice it to say, I did not return.

Within five years Light Up Orlando shut down, along with the Queen Kumquat Sashay, due to the public intoxication of the participants and the subsequent crime spree. The disappointment reigned in most of the citizenry of O-town. And whom could we blame? Bob Morris? The Sashay? The powers that be? The alcohol vendors? All of the above? None of the above? We were all having a great time at the parade. Afterward, adults and children alike enjoyed a night of food, fun, and music. Then, all of it was taken away by jerks who wanted more.

Here’s the way I see the moral of the story…

Learn to recognize the fine line between bounty and excess.
You may lose the one for employing the other.


  1. I loved going to the Queen Kumquat Sashay and always wondered what happened to it.

    One year, a group of people wore road construction barricades bearing the name "Bob's Barricades" and marched down the road in a circle with Bob Morris in the center. Love it!

    Another group wore bug costumes and walked in front of the Volkswagen Beetle. The driver would stop the car and the people in bug costumes would throw themselves against the front of the car just like real love bugs!

    It's a shame that fifteen years later this event is still lost in history due to the poor decisions of some unnamed councilman.

    1. Thanks for commenting! It's nice to know that someone else out there remembers the Sashay. My kids (now 33 and 29) still remember the SunBank Center Kid's section. Oh well... time marches on.

  2. Ha! I just went looking for info on the Queen Kumquat Sashay because I was referencing it in a fb comment and came to your lovely piece here. Wasn't til I got to the end of it that I realized who the author was! Great piece. I only got to enjoy the parade once but I always thought it would be great fun to be chosen queen as I have the correct hair color. Lol Someone should revive this parade... :) (I think your sons could pull this off.)