Benton Harbor, Michigan — May 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Liveblogging the Blossomtime Grand Floral Parade in Benton Harbor


NOTE: Click each image for a larger version which will open in a separate window.

12:35 – Parade begins in 25 minutes. A HUGE police presence along the parade route:

Also a huge union presence:

Two sheriff boats and the Coast Guard in the river between St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. My wife’s comment: “For crying out loud, it’s just the Governor! You’d think it was the President.”

Totally different vibe on the St. Joe side. Many more families but a handful of pockets of protesters:

And far fewer police.

1:02 – Just got shooed off the street. And no wonder here come the “Honorable”Governor in the flesh, surrounded by two body guards.

Receiving sporadic light applause from the nearly all white, non-union crowd.

Just passed a large group of protesters and the chants of “Recall Rick!” were LOUD!

1:15 – Heading into Benton Harbor:

Ready for Rick:

Rick enters Benton Harbor:

There’s a distinct difference between the lily white, politely-applauding crowd in St. Joseph and the chanting, sign-waving, mostly black crowd in Benton Harbor:

1:40 – Rick Snyder’s part of the parade is now over. As soon as he got to the end, he leaped into a waiting car and got the hell out of Dodge. He traveled so fast that it has taken 10-15 minutes for the rest of the parade to catch up! The change in expression on his face after he crossed the bridge into Benton Harbor was noticeable. He definitely had to paste his smile on in the face of a clearly hostile (in the political sense, not the physical sense) crowd. Where he walked free and unencumbered in St. Joseph, he had a couple of sheriff’s golf carts close by in Benton Harbor.

Despite the political hostility facing the Governor, the crowd was very peaceful and did not threaten him nor was there any significant disruption of the parade. Only the very small area near Snyder was impacted.

That is it for the day. Time for a beer at The Livery.