Dogwood Parade Vendors

writes: Being new to Charlottesville, I attended my first parade here Saturday. I was impressed by the floats and many other sights, but was extremely bothered by the vendors patrolling up and down the streets with overloaded (and probably stolen!) shopping carts. Is this a common practice for the City to allow these vendors to “interfere” with citizens being able to enjoy a parade without dangling flashy “toys” in front of childrens faces to get them all wound up to have us produce the almighty dollar? This is a poor practice that I certainly hope City management will take into consideration for the next parade. Is the money the City gets for the temporary vendor permits really worth pissing off the citizens that are already agitated by not being able to find a place to park? Advice, comments, please!

32 Responses to “Dogwood Parade Vendors”


  • Funny, I had the same reaction. I was sitting there enjoying the parade with my kid when one of these carts parked directly in our line of site for about 15 minutes. Ultimately, my son started paying more attention to the vendor’s balloons than the parade. Very annoying.

    I should say that during that interval, that vendor had continuous sales. I was truly shocked at the junk that people were buying. And, this with no posted prices. It seems like the kids just chose what they wanted, then the vendor stated a number and the parent paid.

    Better that there were “official” vendors with some proceeds going to offset the cost of the parade and/or go to a charitable cause.

  • While I support vendors having a place during the parade, it’s be great to see the temporary wandering vendors significantly restricted. Parents go to a parade to give their children a chance to enjoy something that is given rather than puchased. Vendors efforts to focus things back on purchasing material goods is dissapointing. All of life need not be one endless set of purchases, ownership of literal junk that some vendors sold, and then the discard at the end of the day.

    On a nice parade day, a parent is hard pressed to say no to a child. Vendors are able to park shopping carts I’m assuming they purchased from major retailers (ha) right in front of folks trying to watch the parade. Of course they sell stuff..

  • I must agree with the original submitter and the two commenters — I had the exact same thoughts while watching the parade. In the middle of a marching band playing, some guy would be pushing along a shopping cart and shouting (such that I could hear him — over said band — from the roof of the Old Michie Building) “PRET-zels! WAT-ter! Three dollars or two for five!” In some cases it was particularly bad, since some of the floats were intended to establish an emotional moment that were just disrupted by the sales pitches.

    I haven’t put any thought into whether it would be legally appropriate to restrict these sales, but I must say that the whole experience would be considerably more enjoyable (for me and for parents and children, I suspect) if they vendors weren’t present, at least not in such a physically- and audibly-garish capacity.

  • Perhaps it is because there is a lack of goings-on about here, but it seems that more and more of the stories are not news, or at least are not references to stories written up elsewhere. Has cvillenews evolved into more of a regular message board, albeit one with Waldo-controlled topics?

  • Well, if it has turned into what you are suggesting, I don’t have a problem with it and I welcome it. Charlottesville needs a site for news AND message board material. Keep up the good work Waldo..

  • If you want traditionaal “news,” why don’t you just stick to the Daily Progress or WINA (I would say Channel 29 but…)? Waldo and the people who submit things offer them as ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION, hence the opportunity/ability to post comments. And if an enterprising reporter or thoughtful city councilor were to read this, it could become “news,” although I wouldn’t say that just because an item such as this doesn’t appear in the DP or other media, it doesn’t qualify as “news.” Don’t be such a stickler….

  • I think that if the City Councilors (or their challengers) read this site on a regular basis, they would keep a pulse on what is really going on and what people are really happy/unhappy with in Charlottesville. I trust the content of this site more than I do Channel 29 or the Regress. These two media sources really like to use their editing rights. Waldo doesn’t.

  • If you want to see more news, submit news stories–you have the power. It sounds to me like you’re sitting on your hands, critiquing what other people are doing rather than taking action to make the board into what you want it to be.

    I for one am not disappointed when I come to cvillenews and -gasp- find people discussing mere occurrences in Charlottesville rather than officially certified “news” stories. The discussions here are generally great.

  • Apparently I am some sort of unbelievable huge idiot! I just had no idea that this was an area where things are “ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION” — and I really did not know that having “ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION” usually prompted giving the opportunity/ability to post comments. I truly appreciate the help.

    That said, I suppose I was looking for a little bit more thought than that. Foolish me — perhaps I should spell things out a little bit more for the local yokels.

    1. I have noticed what appears to me two shifts in the “ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION”. First, I have noticed a shift in the composition of the sources, from generally traditional media sources to users of the message board. Second, I have noticed a shift in the subject matter, from the stuff of more traditional news to a blend of news and commentary. For the reactionaries out there, note that I haven’t yet made any normative claims — I just say that I think that I have noticed some trends. If being observant equates to being a stickler, call me Miles Davis. In any case, I was looking for opinions as to the veracity of my observations as well as conjecture as the reasons for the shifts.

    2. I suggested, not just that cvillenews.com has become a message-board, but that cvillenews.com has become “more of a regular message board, albeit one with Waldo-controlled topics”. First of all, please be aware that I said “more of a regular message board”. Please refrain from continuing to “respond” by letting me know that this is already a message board for discussing “ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION”. I was suggesting not that this has suddenly become a message board but that perhaps it has changed its stripes. Given that this message board has a format distinctly different from that of most message boards (yet fairly similar to many meta-news type sites), I thought, mistakenly perhaps, that the peculiarities of the format of cvillenews.com as a traditional message board might be food for thought.

  • Ch 29 and the Progress limit discussion entirely, though one could say that is inherent to the format. Waldo limits discussion only to a very limited extent, though that is perhaps inherent to the (norms of the) format.

    Ch 29 and the Progress limit topics — that is largely a function of the limited space and time they have to present stories. When Waldo limits topics, which he does do, it is seemingly entirely out of editorial concern.

    While you may be right that the commercial news around here likes to edit and Waldo doesn’t, I think the tone of your comment mischaracterizes the reality. Methinks that you just prefer the perspective that Waldo offers to that of the more traditional news in town.

  • I was merely observing and calling for discussion. I was not complaining, though you all have read into that. I may well be wrong, but it seems to me to be a lot of reactionarism to a potential complaint from the observations I made.

    I apologize for my attempt at awareness. I will retreat into a stupor.

  • While registered names have the benefit of giving the tribe here the right to track consistency, they have the drawback of removing the shield from group tyranny that anonymity partially provides. Though Waldo surely knows who I am and can track me, the rest of you, thankfully, must spot me only by tone, word usage, argument style and point of view.

  • You are absolutely right, Anonymous Cville Newbie. How dare these garish hooligans spoil the perfect emotional moment that comes from seeing local icon “Elvis” standing on top of a float lip-synching to “Hound Dog”?

    This is far too typical of this idiotic town. Everyone needs to get over themselves, and fast. What is it with all this pretentiousness? It’s a festival to celebrate a goddamn plant! Moreover, perhaps you should go back to New York and tell them the same thing, I’m sure they’d love to stop all vendor sales during the perfect emotional moment of a post-playoff riot.

    Vendors have been and always will be part of the festival atmosphere. That is why it is a festival. I’ll admit that I’m not exactly a Ph.D. in History but I’d guess this tradition goes back at least a couple of centuries.

    Something about the tone of this post was quite…strange, especially the part about how the shopping carts are “probably stolen”. But I’ll keep mum to avoid any nasty accusations.

    I don’t know what you think these festivals are exactly for. However, I’m sure that if you ask nicely, when cville finally has the “Noam Chomsky’s Birthday” parade, they will keep the streets clean of filthy vendors and their filthy lucre, blocking your view of a bunch of old women on the back of a flat-bed truck.

  • You undermine your arguement with sarcasm. Belittling others makes you feel real big, huh?

  • You undermine your arguement with sarcasm. Belittling others makes you feel real big, huh?

    Besides, in case you missed the point:

    First message, not-sarcastic, even-handed, panned by the critics. Following messages replying in the general angst-like spirit called for by the original responses.

  • “I know you are but what am I?” or “You hit me first!!!” Is that generally what you are trying to say?

  • Can we petition City Council for Noam Chomsky’s birthday? Or a resolution decrying the final taped episode of “Sally Jessy Raphael”? Dammit, I want answers!!!

    To bring this back to topic, I do like those large balloons that they sell. You know, the ones larger than a 7 year old child? Part of the charm of festivals, parades, carnivals and fairs whe I was a child was the ability to wheedle something out of my mom that was pure junk, crappy, useless and more likely not to make it back to the parking lot. Of course, back in 1965, pure junk wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. Kids today–they are so damned spoiled to get useless junk all the time. In my day, it was a special pleasure to get useless crap on a special occasion such as the Dogwood Parade or Apple Blossom Festival (which I always refer to as “Mardi Gras for Rednecks”).

    I’m being somewhat sarcastic and yes, I come from a background of rednecks aka good old boys.

    Still waiting for the Noam Chomsky Parade. What would be the theme?

    Signed Redneck Gal with Slightly Too Much Education Yet with An Air of Pretentious at 12:48 am

  • You’re in my good book simply for your grammar.

  • A couple of centuries ago I could beat a vendor who blocked my view of a parade silly with a big stick.

    With evolving restrictions on my ability to respond, perhaps these vendors might evolve to be present but a little less in your face.

    What’s the deal with the shopping carts? The shopping carts ARE likely stolen. What the hell are you talking about “nasty accusations”? Big chain supermarkets do not sell shopping carts of all things to individuals, while said shopping carts are easy to walk off with. If I was a gambling man I’d lay 3 to 1 odds that the shopping carts you see being used as basketball hoops, vendor sale stands etc are stolen.

    And what’s the deal with the “pretentiousness” name calling? I understand addressing the topic is difficult, but please. I happen to have litterally frozen my butt off sitting 3 hours at a time selling papers for 50 cents, making jack when I look back on it. I wish I’d been lucky enough to be able to walk around (and stay warm) back when I was foolish enough to take that job.

    I’d bet 3 to 1 that you never worked before school, never cleaned bathrooms, maybe even never ran a paperroute through a tough area where folks liked to try and kick the paper boy off his bike. These are things I’ve done… in fact, if I met the previous poster, I’d probably think they were the pretiontous jerk.

  • I’m not sure if the city actually licensed those vendors or not. It’s important to note that the parade isn’t produced by the city – it’s all done by the non-profit Dogwood Blues Festival board of directors, which is 100% volunteer. It’s possible that the parade route is given over the Dogwood Festival and they have control over the vendors, just at CDF has control over all vendors at Fridays.

    I’m not sure either way, but nomadic street vendors are extremely opportunistic and aware of the scheduled large gatherings all over the place, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they were totally unsanctioned. Next year, just ask to see their city vending license. If they don’t have one, ask a cop to shut them down.

  • Perhaps it is because there is a lack of goings-on about here, but it seems that more and more of the stories are not news, or at least are not references to stories written up elsewhere

    That’s accurate — it’s because we’ve added the new “ask cvillenews.com” section. You’ll notice that pretty much all of the submitted news that you don’t believe qualify as news are likely in this category.

    It’s an experimental new category but, frankly, I think it’s a rousing success, and intend to keep it, barring some huge outcry. It’s a fine method for people to present a question in order to get a response from community members. Some of the questions have been factual (“what’s the deal with…?”) and some, like this, seek input based on a perspective.

    Anyhow, they’re often “not news,” but I predict that a sizeable percentage of them will end up being “news,” if by that you mean “appears in the Progress/on WINA/on WVIR/in [The Hook|C-Ville Weekly].”

  • Well, now there’s a faux pas – please make that Dogwood Festival, omit the Blues.

  • I just called the city and asked and the vendors are licensed and checked by the city during the parade. I was told they paid $93.75 each. I was at the parade and I agree that they were more annoying this year. Maybe too many were licensed. I also think that one guy with the pretzels and water was particularly irritating. He stood in front of us, blocking the view for about 15 minutes while a high school band that I wanted to see went by.

    I also wish the parade would have a requirement that entrants have some kind of float and not just their businesses truck. Some of the “entries” looked like the drivers got into the parade accidentally after they got off the interstate and got lost.

    Kevin Cox

  • My beef is that no one makes sure that the various “floats” keep the pace. The Virginia Twirlettes were noticably slow, as were two or three other groups– making the crowd get bored and restless.

  • Frankly I think the existence of “ask cvillenews.com” is probably, in the long run, going to be the only thing that keeps me coming back. There just isn’t enough news in this town to keep a plain news discussion site busy, and changing content is the only thing that will hold my attention. I used to visit often when it was more of a novelty to me, but now I employ the handy RDF thingy in my own portal and only visit the site when the topic grabs me (apparently I am “grabbed” by parade vendors).

    I think the new section is a natural progression, and one that will keep people like me returning to follow up on the conversations we get started in. It’s hard to feel like putting in your two cents is a good idea when you’re really not sure you’ll bother to come back for the rebuttal (or that the others involved will notice what you said).

    There are far too many alternative news sources around here to limit any one of them to just news. This is a good, happy thing.

  • I agree – ask.cvillenews.com totally rocks. Great job!

  • Why so defensive? Yes, you were making an observation and calling for discussion.

    And you got discussion–just not the kind you were looking for, maybe.

    The “discussion” that you were calling for has taken the form of other people jumping on your post. Is that wrong? Are people not allowed to do that? Was there only one appropriate way to respond to your post? Do you want to include rules along with your future posts telling us how people can and cannot respond to your post?

  • In the past two weeks, I count 5 posting that fit the new category of “informal observations that I wanted to chat about”–the graffiti thread, the WINA thread, the Dogwood parade thread, the police motorcycle brigade thread, and the Fridays After Five thread (although one could argue that that is more traditional news).

    Everything else–15 other threads, if you go back to 4/16/02–seems to fall under the traditional definition of “news,” i.e., stuff that has appeared or would appear in a newspaper or on the radio/tv broadcast. Stuff like Meredith Richards announcing her candidacy for the 5th district seat, the report on law school discrimination, the monticello organization proposing to keep Hemings descendants out of the group, etc.

    There has indeed been a flurry of “non-news” postings lately, but IMO a flurry doth not a trend make. Most of what gets posted here is traditional news.

  • Channel 29 presents no real discussion and short stories with pictures, some of which are never identified or quite old and off point.

    The Progress presents a wider variety of stories and the Letters to the Editor, which are an excellent reflection of different opinions on many topics. What Waldo does is different, provocative and fun.

  • When Waldo limits topics, which he does do, it is seemingly entirely out of editorial concern.

    The only limiting of topics that I do is fail to accept some submissions. (And, of course, choose not to write about some things — though others are free to submit them and I may change my mind.) The majority of submissions that I reject are some pretty weird stuff — people seeking child care, announcing yard sales and such. Every now and again a legitimate item will come in that I’ll reject because the scope is wrong (it’s about state or national news), or because it’s simply poorly-written.

    Beyond that, though, there’s not much limiting. But you are right in that I am the filter through which news must pass before it’s posted to the front page. Though there’s nothing keeping anybody from starting a totally new discussion about a different news item other than the one to which they’re replying, as happens pretty regularly.

  • You wrote, “I have noticed what appears to me two shifts in the “ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION”. First, I have noticed a shift in the composition of the sources, from generally traditional media sources to users of the message board. Second, I have noticed a shift in the subject matter, from the stuff of more traditional news to a blend of news and commentary.”

    See my other post on this topic (news v. non-news), or just review the posted topics for the past two weeks. Traditional news posting outweigh this “blend” that you describe by a 15 to 5 margin if you look back to 4/16/02. I don’t call that much of a trend or a shift.

  • Of course, back in 1965, pure junk wasn’t as prevalent as it is now.

    Two words: hula hoops.

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