Melbourne Independence Day Parade 1998
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submitted by Luke Setzer
Libertarian Party of Brevard Secretary

Lady Luck met Lady Liberty in late June for the Libertarian Party of Brevard County. Richard Hall, member of the Libertarian Party of Brevard (LPB) Membership Committee, had placed an advertisement in a local newspaper for our party in mid-June. A few days later, the coordinator for the Melbourne Independence Day Parade called him and asked that our party participate in their parade on July 3. We were delighted to oblige, but under such short notice, we had to act quickly. We had less than two weeks to gather volunteers and materials and build a float! Fortunately, a HUGE garage sale the previous month had netted the LPB enough hard cash to finance the deal without breaking the LPB bank balance. Attendees at the annual LPB business meeting on June 27 provided the source for volunteers to prepare parade items the following week.

The LPB constructed a large and very solid plywood box billboard sign and had a professional artist paint it. One member generously offered his pickup truck as the LPB float, so the new billboard had a home in the parade. The LPB printed hundreds of double-sided flyers advocating VOTE LIBERTARIAN and VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 11 FOR BALLOT ACCESS, and included local party contact information on those flyers.

Two members, Leslie and Luke Setzer, rented costumes to dress as Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam, while numerous others helped to distribute the flyers as well as buckets of candy.During the lineup of the parade floats, several LPB volunteers engaged in a lively debate with one of U.S. Representative Dave Weldon's assistants over beach nudity and other issues. When requested the favor of taking an LPB group photo using the LPB camera, the assistant declined, even though he was not even going to be in the picture!

As the parade proceeded, onlookers openly accepted the handouts of flyers and candy. One enthusiastic spectator even stopped "Uncle Sam" (Luke Setzer) so a friend could take a picture of them together.

After the parade, the LPB had a late dinner at Frankie's Wings 'n' Things restaurant to fill their empty stomachs and exchange ideas on how to deliver even more impact in future parades.

All in all, the LPB participation in the parade proved successful at placing the Libertarian message -- lower taxes, smaller government -- in front of hundreds of people, and promoted knowledge of the need for easier ballot access. Now that the LPB has a permanent billboard for display, we will assertively seek participation in future local parades. Ross Nordeen will store the sign in his garage until a more "permanent" storage area can be found.

Many thanks to all who participated in the parade: John and Ann Cornett, Walt and Jennifer Rauch, Tony and Su-Le Kantz, Lee McLamb and family, David Hobbs and family, Jerry Driscoll, Luke and Leslie Setzer, and all others who lent a hand.


This page was last updated 07/02/00 01:51 PM