Presidential hopefuls congregated in the Short North on Monday to celebrate what some say makes America great: the Doo Dah Parade.
No, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump weren’t visiting Columbus Monday. But the parade did have Jesus, the Pope, a slice of bacon and a dog named Meatball making their presidential cases to paradegoers. Meatball even had his own Secret Service detail protecting him.
The Pope, or at least his impersonator Mac Thomas of Worthington, said he has enjoyed the past four or five years he’s marched in the parade.
“You always meet weird people every year,” Thomas said.
His good friend, Jesus — otherwise known as Olive O’Dorisio, an 11-year-old Columbus resident — has been marching in the parade as long as she can remember.
“I like how you can do something weird and no one will judge you,” Olive said.
And weird is the name of the game for Columbus’ only politically incorrect parade, where the only rules are no blatant advertising and no full nudity.
During the 33rd anniversary of the parade, marchers parodied politics, trends and current events.
Scott Fulks of the Short North donned a tricorn hat and breeches to preach about succession.
“I’m Paul Revere and we’re telling people the British are leaving,” Fulks said.
For his tenth Doo Dah Parade, Fulks said his group had to quickly whip up costumes after Britain decided to leave the European Union last week in a move many are referring to as Brexit.
“We try to come up with something current and fun,” he said.
Fulks and his group warned rain-drenched paradegoers that northern Dublin might want to detach itself from the rest of Columbus.
One example of the parade’s edgy humor involved an appearance of Harambe, the gorilla of the Cincinnati Zoo, coming back from the grave. Dragging along a man dressed as a toddler, the gorilla preached the importance of being a watchful mother.
Less-than-grand marshal and former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman rode in a car and called for four more years. Zombies roamed the streets and mingled with mental patients, handing out candy to children.
For Scott and Serena Joseph of Westerville, the Doo Dah Parade is an annual tradition for their family.
“Our kids would rather be here than any local parade,” Serena said. “They wake up excited to go.”
The Josephs staked out their spot at the front of the parade, setting up a tent and a stash of snacks two hours before it started.
“We do a few local things, but nothing compares to Doo Dah,” Scott said.