NEW YORK CITY — As the largest marching band in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Greater St. Petersburg Area Awesome Original Second Time Arounders drew a lot of attention.
Member Lise Amundrud loved the shout-outs from the crowd.
"As we would march by, people would cheer and say the funniest things, like 'Not bad for old-timers,' 'Suck it in' or 'You still got it!' "
Head majorette Donna Boerner spied a little girl with a sign that read, "2nd times the charm" and wondered if she was a family member of a Second Time Arounder.
Longtime rifle corps captain Frank Hay, who had marched in the Macy's parade in high school and college, felt this was by far the most special of his three trips.
"It is just such a unique group," he explained. "We are doctors, janitors, nurses, lawyers … yet we all bond into this amazing group with such ease and accomplish these amazing things."
The Second Time Arounders, made up of adults who performed in high school and college marching bands, had its genesis in 1983. Members — from teens to octogenarians — travel from beyond the Tampa Bay area, even from New Jersey, Georgia and North Carolina, to perform with the band.
At the parade, majorettes Lynn Evans, Denise Seufert, Kathy Heawitt, Meridith Hammond and Lynn Wolf were more entertained by their fellow twirler, Melissa Mince, whose platinum blond hairpiece was lifted from her head by a gust of icy wind and blown down the street. Melissa chased after it and snagged it up as the crowd laughed at her predicament.
After trying for a moment to pin it back on, Mince gave up and let the audience have a souvenir, tossing the golden locks up into the crowd with a flourish as witnesses roared their approval.
Member Tim Raff thought the 3-mile route went by in a flash, while fellow band member Katie Gabehart saw it as a journey.
Auxiliary members Robin McElfresh and Eric Peak laughed at the description.
"It was a journey all right," said Peak, as McElfresh chimed in: "A journey herding cats."