For the past few years, the Marching Fidels has been absent from the annual Doo Dah Parade in Columbus. This year was no different. 

It was shortly before today’s parade I received word from a former member of the group that they had decided to hang up their beards now that the Cuban dictator has died. 

One of the most popular parts of the parade will no longer be seen taking siestas or forcing parade attendees to join their ranks as they march through the streets of the Short North. 

The news was disappointing for many attendees and for longtime participants who also enjoyed the group’s antics. 

Still, some held out hope they would return this year, with recent changes in federal policy toward Cuba. 

Alas, it was not to be and the parade went on without out them. 

Unlike last year, which saw many of the participants mocking President Trump’s Space Force, the issues tackled by those in the parade focused on a variety of topics including women’s and LGBTQ rights, and at least one entrant expressed themselves over the nuclear bailout bill going through the State Legislature right now (HB6). 

President Trump did not escape completely this year; once again his border wall was mocked and the unQueen of the parade turned her golf cart into the Doo Dah Daycare complete with several helium-filled balloons of Trump’s head on a baby’s body in a diaper. 

The less than grand marshals of the parade were the crew that saved the [Columbus] Crew [SC]. 

“I think this parade is a uniquely Columbus experience and I think that the fact that we saved the Crew is uniquely Columbus thing, so I think that our experience in Columbus goes hand in hand with what this parade stands for,” said David Miller, one of the less than grand marshals. 

As for parade attendees, many were pleased with this year’s turn out and noted it was slightly longer than last year; or at least felt that way.  

In the end, many keep coming back because they value what the parade stands for. 

“It speaks to reality of life and to the fact that we don’t always have to agree with everything to be one country indivisible,” said Mike Howley, a longtime parade attendee. “I kind of like that feeling.”