April Fools Day can extend well into the month in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the 4th annual FestiFools Parade took place on Sunday, April 11. This one hour parade on Main Street is rapidly becoming a community spring frolic, celebrating foolishness of all sorts with puppets of all sizes and interactive play between the parade and the audience. Advertised as "free and accessible to all", the event attracted not only my mother, brother and I, but thousands of people who crowded the downtown sidewalks for the spirit lifting experience.
Before the parade started, I noticed an empty wheelchair pushed by a woman who's older mother walked alongside to wherever they were going to station themselves. Otherwise I didn't see any other wheelchair users until later in the parade when a long line of kids who had built robot costumes out of cardboard boxes appeared. I think they had all participated in a costume making party at the library prior to the event. Mixed in was one child in a wheelchair, who thankfully made the event truly visibly inclusive.
With so much energy going into the immensely fun aspects of the event, I couldn't tell how much thought has gone into developing greater inclusion. The streets were so crowded that attendees with physical disabilities need to arrive early to get good curbside spots. Event organizers might consider designating some sections for specific use by people using wheelchairs to view if these don't already exist. I hope to see more wheelchair users and other people with disabilities in the parade in future years. As we left I noticed an ambulatory teen aged girl with developmental delay alongside her mother on the sidelines. People with disabilities were certainly present! I hope their attendance will grow as FestiFools does.