Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bennington Vale Christmas Parade Ends in Violence and Accusations of Racism

SAN NARCISO, Calif. -- What was meant to be a cheery holiday celebration quickly turned to disaster as Bennington Vale’s annual Christmas Parade spiralled into an abyss of injuries and rioting, reminiscent of the German Love Parade stampede in July. Although city officials continue to investigate the causes of the problem, the key catalysts seemed to be the inadequate disposal of medical needles, misprinted signage and the misunderstood presence of San Narciso’s “Holiday Man.”

Mayor Manny DiPresso said in a statement issued by City Council, “There were many problems with the parade, the foremost being that nobody in the county bothered to read over the rules we posted a week prior. I explicitly said I didn’t want a repeat of last year’s ‘Maxwell Street Massacre.’ To be fair, that didn’t happen. But what did occur was, in my opinion, much worse. First, every bathroom along the parade route was equipped with SHARPS SECURE containers for properly disposing needles required for medical treatment. As we all know, regrettably, the county has a surprisingly large number of teens who require intravenous medication. Failing to properly dispose of those hypodermics is what led to the donkey’s overdose. So, there went the living nativity. Also, six of the eight dogs pulling the Children’s Hospital sleigh met similar fates. My dreams are still haunted by the sound of children screaming, dogs heaving and the eerie, guttural wailing of the mule before it vomited out one of its internal organs.”

Another problem, according to sources, was the last minute rush of local businesses to have banners printed up for display in the parade. Without adequate notice, some typographical errors were made, the most notable affecting a Vietnamese-owned hot dog stand. The sign was meant to read “Eat at Lazy Dog,” not “Eat a Lazy Dog.” Civil Rights organizations within the county remain steadfast in their assertions that these mistakes were intentionally made by certain Chamber of Commerce members whom these groups continually label as bigots and racists.

But perhaps the most glaring problem of the night came at the end of the parade when the county’s new “Holiday Man” was revealed.

DiPresso lamented, “We had the best intentions with the Holiday Man. With all this ‘war on Christmas’ bunk and our past ACLU issues, we felt that creating the Holiday Man was an innocent and embracing symbol of acceptance to all citizens in San Narciso County. Clearly, we had a problem with messaging, which was complicated by a poorly conceived display. But the rioting that ensued, not to mention setting the Holiday Man’s float on fire, was inexcusable. Fortunately, he was close enough to Fangoso Lagoons to be pushed into the water and extinguished. But fines will be forthcoming.”

The Holiday Man idea, according to the City Council, involved incorporating traditional symbols of the season from all major religions, not just the two represented in San Narciso. The Holiday Man, however, was immediately met with tears and profanity, not joyous well-wishing.

DiPresso explained, “All right, so he’s wearing a common Santa Claus suit but with a yarmulke, Kwanzaa candles at his feet, and he’s holding a copy of the Koran. He was also lashed to a giant cross, which was perhaps a very misguided decision in hindsight.”

The actor who portrayed the holiday man remains in stable condition, with second degree burns covering roughly 15 percent of his body. He is expected to make a full recovery, and the City Council has agreed to pay for any reconstructive surgery he may require.

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