Q&A: Jym Ganahl, Doo Dah Day Parade’s Less-Than-Grand Marshal

From the July 3, 2014 edition

Protesters, party-monsters, artists and activists will descend upon High Street on Friday, July 4 for the annual Doo Dah Day Parade to celebrate “liberty and lunacy.” Leading the lunatic charge will be NBC4’s Jym Ganahl. Confused? So is he.

Though Ganahl isn’t sure why he was picked, he is sure he doesn’t represent the riotous Doo Dah “demographic.” But with the “polar vortex” theme, and a reputation for being unpredictable, the polar opposite of Doo Dah might be just what parade organizers — and onlookers — wanted.

I don’t fit the Doo Dah Parade mold. In fact, when I told my family I was asked to serve as the “Not-So-Grand Marshal,” their first question was, “Why?” Either way, I am humbled they asked me. I love the whole atmosphere and I’m going to soak in every minute. So many other parades and festivals are so organized and set in their ways, the people participating can’t enjoy them. The Doo Dah Parade is so anti-everything. I am going to let loose! There is no way I’m staying classy for this. I’m thinking of bringing my grandchildren’s water guns! I’ll be having so much fun, I won’t even mind if the people spray me with water right back.

I am terrified of cursing the Doo Dah Parade. I don’t know what it is, but every time I am asked to be at an outdoor event, the weather doesn’t cooperate. One year at the New Albany Founders Day parade, it was clear and beautiful directly before and directly after the parade, but the entire time it was going on, it was sleeting. It happened at an event in Coshocton, and at a Newark High School graduation I was at, too. I hope it doesn’t follow me to Doo Dah! But, 15 of the last 16 weeks we have had rain on Tuesday and Wednesday and had really nice weather on the weekends, so hopefully that continues.

I wanted to become a meteorologist because I knew I could do it better than the people on TV. I would always get so mad as a kid that the people on TV would miss the weather forecast on snow days. When I was 17, my mother let me go to the TV station for a day. I told the director I could do the weather better than their meteorologist, which is very out of character for me. He let me try, and I was right. I’ve been doing it ever since.

I am still a kid at heart. One thing I’ve learned through all my years is that your mind stays about the same from when you are about 20 until you die. After a certain age, my mind didn’t get any older. The things that spoke to me as a kid still speak to me now. I still love model trains because they remind me of the train that would go through my hometown in Iowa. I live in New Albany because they get more snow each year than the rest of the city, and whenever I see snow on the ground I’m like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story.” That is part of the reason I am so excited to be part of the Doo Dah Parade this year; this is something for me. This is my time.

Photo by Meghan Ralston