Friday, July 06, 2012

Victorian Outdoor Style

A Walk On the Beach 1909
by  Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida Spain, 1865-1923

Lighthouse Walk at Biaratt

Victorian Costume 

Because we live in such a quiet, scenic setting, our family and some neighbors decided to celebrate the 4th in our own back yard. You understand that I cannot show the photographs of everyone, so I hope my description will create vivid pictures in your mind of the event.

The day began with preparations for the parade. Everyone who had a costume of any era donned hats, spats, vests, and appropriate male or female attire. The young boys preferred their colonial costumes with the tri-corn hats. A watermellon was carried in the basket of my adult tricycle (shown, above) with USA carved on it, for eating when we arrived at our destination a few feet away.

Vehicles were decorated with hand made banners and Victorian "fireworks" called sparklers made from drinking straws, tape, and mylar wrapping paper. Instructions for these are available somewhere on The Pleasant Times   We like them because they sparkle and are harmless and can be stored in a tin to be used year after year.

At the sound of the marching music from a CD player, bout a dozen citizens of this small hamlet lined up at the house on their bikes or on foot, and slowly moved toward the grounds of the meeting house.  The parade went at a snail's pace, waving to the imaginary crowds on either side, ending at the old steps with the iron gate, where one of the men stood and made a speech. Much of that speech was recorded in my previous post called, "A Nation Built on Belief."

 Our only audience was a Cajun man  who grew up in the French Quarter, and his wife. Both of them, though well-travelled, said that they had "never experienced anything like this in our lives."  Whether that was a positive or negative comment, we do not know, but they clapped enthusiastically as the parade passed by.

His speech was interrupted several times by applause and reminders to vote for him. I was not sure what office he was running for but I've never heard a better political speech in my life, nor one so enthusiastically received.  He won the election.

He finished his speech grandly by kissing a baby.

The sacrificial watermelon was then retrieved from my basket and cut and served to all the participants.

Local fireworks are getting longer and better, enabling us to still stay home and view them from the sky while sitting on a blanket on our lawn.

So folks, and especially you with big families, dogs, ponies, bicycles, tricycles, wagons, baby prams and strollers, lawn mowers, and anything with wheels--you can all have a parade at home.  If you have no wheels, just dress as you like, and walk slowly, following a leader, singing your favorite song and holding a few flags. Put it on video and take some pictures and you'll have created some great memories. One day someone in your family will say:

"Remember that year we decided to stay home and have our own parade and speeches? Wasn't that wonderful?!"

This costume is from Simplicity Costume Pattern No. 8375

I bought this quite awhile ago when there was a 99-cent sale. I've since noticed that they have escalated in price to $20.00 online.  To preserve your patterns, iron the pieces on to fusible interfacing.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like lots of fun!

Anonymous said...

That sounds like such FUN! You look so lovely in your outfit and I am drooling over your bicycle. :o)

Lydia said...

I got this trike at a garage sale, where someone had bought it and did not like it. I wondered why, as it was brand new and working fine. The problem is that most people are bike riders and tend to sway a little for balance, while riding any kind of vehcile. It will veer off to the right and can topple over, if you do not relax and sit straight on it, and that takes some practice if you grew up bike riding! Also, have a bike mechanic align it and oil it and ride it to see if it is working. It has gears on it and if you are used to riding a very basic bicycle, you need to know how to use those gears, for a smooth ride. After I understood about the balance, I was able to ride this with ease, but I must admit I nearly took it back! And it has those big back wheels which you always have to keep in mind, because they cannot get through tiny paths and spaces and will ride over things. You can end up with one back wheel up on a hill or one down in a ditch if not careful. It does take some getting used to. I have heard you can get these trikes at Walmart in the range of $230.oo but of course mine being second hand, was much less. However on the web, even the used ones are up to $750.00.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post! Have to tell you & your readers about a time my husband & I were at a to-do called the Rose City Threshing Fest. It was held on a family farm, & the whole thing was to celebrate & showcase how farmers used to do their own threshing of grain.

Lots to see at this event, & there was even a fiddling contest, & soapmaking & such....plenty of things to interest most everyone. Midway through the festival they had a parade, such as the one you described.

When I heard that the time was approaching I have to admit that I was a bit puzzled about what was in store. Well, they had that parade alright, & it was so much fun to watch. The parade route was down the driveway, past one of the barns, & then back again! The farmer whose property we were on led the whole thing, on one of his oldest tractors, looking every bit the part of "Old MacDonald"....& yes, he waved & smiled. Others in the parade were folks in antique cars, women with huge vintage hats, children with dogs, wagons, name it. It was a blast.

I think I've just talked myself into making a point to go again this year. I hope things haven't changed to a "new & improved" kind of festival.


Lydia said...


Often these homestyle parades start with 6 people the first year, caring not whether it is popular, and escalates over the years to a hundred people! I attend a pioneer festival every year on someones farm which began as a family celebration (6 people) and years later 100 people from friends and relatives attend and contribute, with all kinds of pioneer activities.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful idea!

~ Ann

MrsSM said...

Dear LadyLydia,

I, too, really like your outfits and the parade and speech ideas! I would have loved to have attended:)!

We think along similar lines--last year I made my daughter (at her request) a vintage-looking sailor blouse and navy skirt. It was perfect for celebrating Independence Day. For the last few years we have hosted a backyard cookout for both sets of parents and other family friends. After we've eaten, we have a little program--this year our youngest told a Revolutionary War story, our son gave a travelogue report with photos of his trip to Independence Hall and Valley Forge earlier this year, and our other daughter recited from memory the Declaration of Independence. People really seem to enjoy this. We are also trying to add fun things--this year it was too hot (over 100) so we moved inside for the program, but last year we did a paper airplane contest--everyone decorated and folded their own and then we had awards for the ones who could fly the farthest or decorate creatively. Simple, fun things.

Lydia said...

I do like the paper airplane contest idea, and I like to make paper airplanes. I have a paper airplane book around here somewhere with instructions for elaborate ones; high flyers and low flyers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,
that was delightful. I loved your costume and the pattern.
The top could be used for a modern every day top.

I used to demonstrate making soap at an antique gas and steam engine museum also.
There was a big parade of all the vintage gas and steam engine tractors, vehicles and the parade culminated with a working Calliope
which played lots of old songs with steam driven whistles.

I like the idea of the whole family getting together and being involved. Memories are being made for the next generation and keeping the traditions alive to celebrate the past.
Homemade fun has always been very entertaining and fun.

Thank you Lydia for sharing your celebrations with us. I've really enjoyed this post.
Mrs. J.

Barbara said...

Wonderful idea! I've got 8 grandchildren. Sometime when we are visiting with them on the 4th of July, I'm going to see if we can do this parade!! Also appreciate the idea of ironing sewing patterns to fusible interfacing for longevity. That is a gem of an idea! Love your blog; I always enjoy reading what you have to say!

Tricia said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I have to say I absolutely adore your Victorian costume! If I could I would dress like that every day! Thank you for the beautiful pictures!

Tricia said...

What a great time! I wish I could have been there with you all.

Judith said...

I really enjoyed taking a peek into your day on the fourth!!

Mrs. White said...

What a marvelous idea!!

Mrs. White
The Legacy of Home

Gayle said...

Your dress is so pretty,and I love the idea of the parade.We have used the homemade fireworks found on your daughters site many times and the kids just loved them.My grandson is autistic and the noise levels and smell of the real fireworks are difficult for him, so we watch the fireworks at our local park from our back yard and use the more gentle fireworks for him to play with.You always have the loveliest ideas of ways to make the everyday things so special.

Mrs. W said...

Lovely photos of you and your bike! Sounds like such a fun time!!!

I hope you're doing well and enjoying the summer!