Are people complaining just to complain?

Published Jul 10, 2013 at 7:03 am (Updated Jul 9, 2013 at 10:43 am)

As usual, the Canonsburg Fourth of July Parade made news this year. But, instead of the news being about chairs going up along its route on Pike Street weeks before, the news made was perhaps the most cynical it had ever been in its 51-year history.

Due to an ordinance that Canonsburg council passed last year, the famed chairs weren’t permitted to be put out until 48 hours before the parade. Safety concerns were cited, as were concerns about the chairs negatively impacting businesses on Pike Street, because of potential limited accessibility. Ropes, cords and anything else tying the chairs together or to telephone poles were also prohibited.

The other issue that seemed to have a lot of people up in arms was the cutting of the parade down to two hours from a bloated three. People griped and complained on social media, to the newspapers, to the news and really, anyone else who would listen, that Canonsburg was ruining the parade experience – and even the Fourth of July – for many.

Yet, the chairs came out 48 hours before. In some form of a Fourth of July miracle, people were actually able to reserve their spots for the parade after all! It’s also worth noting that the same people take the same spots on the route year in, year out. So, what is the difference between marking one’s territory on June 22 – as they did last year – and marking it 48 hours before?

And with the sun beating down, full schedules of picnics, parties, swimming at Town Park, and myriad other activities, was that hour really noticeable? Did parade goers – 50,000 of them – really miss seeing a fire truck from a borough 50 miles away?

It’s better for the parade, and for Canonsburg, to have an event that captures its audience’s attention – not one that has them checking their watches, wondering when the last float was going to drive by.

Kudos to Canonsburg for putting on another memorable holiday that celebrates the United States’ freedom and independence. Kudos to bringing such a large number of visitors to the town – visitors who contributed to the town’s economy by purchasing gas, food, and other things during the holiday.

And to those who griped about the changes, we have to wonder – are they griping just to gripe? Would those same people have been complaining that the parade was too long had it been left at three hours? Would they have complained about the chairs going up too early? Will they complain about something else next year?

Our guess is yes. And that is what has more potential to ruin Fourth of July fun than anything else.

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