December 10, 2007 - Less Hats
Up on the roof top click, click, click, the dedicated staff of edhat.com waited for Old Saint Nick. However, Santa's reindeer did not make the clicking sound. Instead the dedicated staff made it as they diligently clicked their special issue tally counters each time a Santa Hat was sighted on the parade route of the 2007 State Street Holiday Parade.
[ Click Here To See Parade Pictures ]
As any dedicated subscriber knows, Santa Hats in the holiday parade are one of the four pillars in the Grand Slam of counting - the others being horses in the Fiesta Parade, dogs in the Dog Parade, and drums in the Solstice Parade. In a long tradition that dates back to 2004, Ed counts these four things and keeps track of trends.
Going into the evening it seemed a tall order to best last year's bumper crop of Santa Hats (1364). And, with rain threatening both the parade and the pom-poms on the hats, it seemed even less likely that the count this year would top last year's hats.
The theme of this year's parade seemed to have something to do with sea life. To be honest, the dedicated staff didn't know the holiday parade even had a theme, but there were quite a few fish, some jellyfish and the like. Maybe that had something to do with the drop in hat count - participants were more focused on the sea life theme than on North Pole attire. We don't know.
As usual, there were a lot of semi trucks pulling floats, and lots of happy, smiling (and often Santa-hatted) kids riding on them. The Karate kids once again made up a large chunk of the hat population. They weren't on a float, but walking along the parade route in a loose formation. Loose, we point out, for the reason that it makes it very difficult to count hats when the youngster who should be walking in row seven lags back to row nine. Luckily, the dedicated staff is the Chuck Norris of counting professionals, and the Karate Kids --and their crooked lines-- are no match for us.
On a holiday cheerful note, Mayor Marty Blum was in the parade again this year. We are very glad to see her back on the job.
By the time Santa landed on State Street for the parade finale, 1051 hats (counting Santa's) had passed us by. That represented a 23% drop from 2006. Click here to see the updated historical record of Santa Barbara parades showing this year's count in context with the others we have done.
The subscriber with the closest guess in Friday's contest was our good friend Lemony who guessed 1001 hats. Lemony wins an Edhat t-shirt and holiday tidings from Ed and the dedicated staff.