The annual Magnolia Little League parade marches through the residential streets of Magnolia before ending up at the playfields to kick off the season. In recent years, resident Angela Giaever has had to deal with more and more mess and nuisance as the parade goes by her house.

Giaever lives on Rosemont Place West and Montavista Place West, along the parade route.

“There is a point where an event outgrows its original intent,” Giaever said, and that’s what she says has happened. This year, her lawn was littered with candy wrappers following the parade. In years past, people have tried to use the bathroom in her home, and the no-parking and crowds in the area create a nuisance.

“Its kind of nuisance for the neighborhood,” she said. “People show up; they don’t attend to their kids.… When the time comes, I just leave my house. The doorbell rings; people want to use the bathroom. I came home at 5 or 6 p.m., and there were candy wrappers everywhere, and that was the last straw.”

Previously, neighbors in the area used to receive a flyer about two weeks before the event, Giaever said, but that has stopped. Magnolia Little League vice president D.J. Fitzgerald said he believed the flyers either came from the Magnolia Chamber or another Magnolia organization. The Little League has never sent flyers out, he said.

The parade should be moved to an area that makes more sense, Giaever said. “This is clearly starting to overwhelm the neighborhood.”

‘A compilation’ of problems

Giaever’s own children were part of the Magnolia Little League when they were younger, and her son used to have a hot chocolate stand along the parade route.

“I needed to voice my concern — if you don’t hear it, then you don’t know it’s an issue,” she said. “I don’t want to be a grinch.”

There wasn’t a problem a few years ago, but incidents appear to be increasing in number, Giaever said.

Giaever spoke to Fitzgerald following the parade, and he told her the event is only one day a year and attendance hasn’t increased, a point Giaever disagrees with.

“It’s not ill will,” Giaever said of her complaints. “It has nothing to do with the Magnolia Little League.”

Giaever said she loves the program, its spirit and goals. “Even if it’s only one day, this is just a compilation of different things,” she said. “I don’t want to antagonize the community.”

Another neighbor who lives on the same street and asked to remain anonymous said she has noticed the parade crowd getting bigger, but she hasn’t had any problems. She said she did notice candy wrappers this year but did not have any mess in her own yard. Parking can be a hassle, she admitted, but the parking signs went up about four days before the Saturday event this year.

“Basically, it’s one day and it’s only about two hours,” she said. “It’s a little bit of a hassle.”

It probably would make sense to have the parade start in the business area instead of on residential streets, she said, but she wasn’t aware of the complexities that came with changing the parade route, like closing streets and rerouting buses.

This is only Fitzgerald’s second year running the parade, but he estimates they’ve been doing it for about 20 years. That has always been the route, he said, but he didn’t know the reason behind it.

Community support

The Magnolia Little League has 44 teams. The older teams have fewer players, while T-ball fields more kids. The Little League’s growth has been flat for the last five years, Fitzgerald said, citing video games, other sports and the spring weather as causes for the stagnation.

Softball has seen some grown, though, and the group overall totals nearly 500 children. Fitzgerald admits that each of the 500 kids usually has two parents and maybe a few grandparents cheering them on while they parade.

Fitzgerald said the league met all of the permits and squared away everything with the city, as it does every year.

“I feel we really tried to meet all of our obligations,” he said. “We really want the community to have a good time.”

He has never received a complaint about the parade until this year, and Giaever’s was the only one.

He received a lot of positive feedback this year, especially for getting the Mariner Moose to attend.

“It’s great for the community,” he said.

Fitzgerald said he’s never heard of anyone trying to use residents’ bathrooms along the parade route. If people have ideas for moving the parade or working out some of these problems, Fitzgerald said the Little League is always looking for volunteers.

“I want to stress that it’s one day out of 365,” he said. “Magnolia is a huge family community. It’s one day that may or may not inconvenience a small portion. Based on the amount of complaints we’ve had, I think we’ve been successful. We provide a really good opening ceremony.”

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