Question: What is the only job better than being a Zambonee driver at a Hockey game?

Answer: Being a balloon handler at the annual Holiday Parade in downtown Green Bay!




These two pictures alone should make you want to join our Optimist Club. Over the years our children and grandchildren have accompnied us through the streets of downtown Green Bay. More dependable than even the US mail, our club has accumulated over 200 years of combined experience in handeling balloons.

It is not just cold temperatures or high winds we have to deal with.  We also manuver around/under tree lines and power lines, keeping a “keen eye” looking upward. Never losing site of the real objective or marching forward our pointman also has to have a “clean eye” looking downward for the horses that went before us!

DOCUMENTED June 2001 (Unapproved)

INTRODUCTION: The Holiday Parade is a both an Optimist community building social event and a community service event. Since the first parade in downtown Green Bay our club has been assisting event organizers in the manpower requirements for the balloons. This event is almost completely self-sufficient and requires very little effort for our members. It is an event where members of all ages are capable of participating.

  2. LOCATION: Downtown Green Bay (Exact meeting location should be verified annually by the event coordinator.
  3. DATE: The Holiday Parade is typically the “last Saturday prior to Thanksgiving”. The event coordinator should verify the date annually
  4. TIME: The Parade typically starts at 9:00AM. However, balloon handlers should arrive earlier.
  5. PREPARATION TIME: Total preparation time is estimated to be two hours.
  1. Check on the date. Call Barb Myer of the Holiday Inn at 437 5900 to verify the dates. Call in August.
  2. Verify our participation with Barb Myer as early in the parade planning process as possible.
  3. Verify how many people they need and when. While 20-25 handlers are typically provided by the Optimist Club, only a couple are required as early as 7:00 or 7:30 AM. The remaining should arrive typically around 8:00AM or so. Determine how many handlers they require and how many we can provide?
  4. Verify location of where the balloons will be inflated. (This has typically been at the offices of Liebmann, Conway, Olejniczak, & Jerry Law offices at 231 S Adams.
  5. Verify whom our contact will be at the Holiday Inn on the Parade day to pick up Hot Chocolate and muffins (?). Any hospitality from them is appreciated, and it may vary from year to year. This has been typically given to us for free.
  6. Get our Optimist sign. (Some years Balloon donors do not like for us to carry a sign because we are not the sponsors. That is understandable. We are there to assist without recognition if need be.)
  7. News releases (Place notices in the bulletin with vital data).
  8. Pass signup sheets 30 days in advance at the club meetings. Provide the vital data on the signup sheet. Any kid old enough to walk can accompany an adult. Any child older than 10 probably can handle a rope with an adult next to him.
  9. Run the slide show of past parades at a meeting for club enjoyment. (See Dan Madigan) Ask Club members for any old photo’s to be scanned and included.
  10. The day of the event stop down at the Holiday Inn to pick up any Hospitality that may be given to workers.
  11. Get annual picture of an Optimist bribing the mayor!
  12. Enjoy the Parade, get photos, smile, have fun! Kids love to see the balloons turn, interact with the kids or the police if possible.

DISCUSSIONS OVER THE YEARS: Can we throw Candy? Should we all have Optimist Hats (Like the Long winter hats with a tassel? Should we set up a pre parade breakfast brunch at the Holiday Inn for those who want to meet there in advance?