Successfully completed the Johnson County parade trifecta today: Coralville, Oxford, and Hills. (The alternate trifecta is Sharon Center, Oxford, Hills.) I was wearing my Packer hat instead of the beret (us bald guys have to keep the sun off our heads), so I can't report on the gossip at the between parade party at Bob and Sue Dvorsky's. But as for the parades themselves, I have loads of pictures at Facebook and a few observations.
No big name politicos were on hand in Coralville this year. The biggest name I saw was Santa Claus, making an off-season appearance in Oxford and riding a motorcycle instead of the sleigh. Dave Loebsack was in two of his new towns, Bettendorf and Clinton, along with holdover Tipton. As for the presidential candidates, Bachmann, Santorum and Gingrich wisely spent their time elsewhere. A generic cross-section crowd at a parade in heavily Democratic Johnson County would be a poor use of time (but a well targeted meet and greet with GOP activists like Bachmann did Saturday is fine. Even though they're outnumbered, sheer population means there are still a lot of Republicans here.)
No presidential candidate units were sighted, either. Four years ago several of the Democratic campaigns had their own units at Coralville, as did Ron Paul on the GOP side. This year there were just party units: about 75 people on the Democratic side counting the Mitch Gross crew, a dozen or so for the GOP. Didn't spot any Republican officials or likely candidates; Democrats had most of the courthouse crew and legislative delegation on hand.
One thing the two parties had in common is the attrition rate: both lost about 3/4 of their bodies between Coralville and Oxford.