With Parade of Homes canceled this year, our columnist presents an alternative

I love a good parade. As a child, I often stood along the curbs of Nelsonville, Ohio, watching the procession of the Parade of the Hills, scooping cheap, wax paper-wrapped candy off of the sidewalk as it was tossed from the back of revving pickup trucks. Same with the Circleville Pumpkin Show, every year. And seeing as today is the day after Mardi Gras, I’m practically brimming with pomp and circumstance. 

Then there is the Parade of Homes.

Everybody likes a million-dollar home until they have to buy it, which is perhaps the main reason why the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio recently announced that it would be canceling this year’s event. Turns out that when too few people buy homes that builders have sunk substantial resources into, it’s harder to get them to put in a dozen granite countertops the following year. With homes on the tour ranging from $725,000 to more than $1 million, it’s not hard to guess why the investments aren’t paying off.

In the spirit of the canceled event, the magic of parades and good citizenship, I have curated a list of local garden gnomes of note, interviewing each to see what makes their little concrete hearts tick.

Much like the Parade of Homes, the Parade of Gnomes is self-guided and ridiculous.

Brutus Buckaloo

1920 Iuka Ave., University District

“It was October 1982. Didn’t know it at the time, but OSU had lost to Florida State that afternoon, a real beating. 34 to 17. I was out on the Gibbons’ front lawn when some drunk Buckeyes snatched me up. Weren’t looking for me, per se, but they saw an opportunity. Threw me in the back of a rusted out Ford Festiva and planted me out front of their frat house. They were despondent. Everybody would rub my head coming in for parties and the whole Brutus thing just stuck.”

Happy McPickpockets

411 Drexel Ave., Bexley

“The kids are always going in their mom’s room and taking spare change out of her purse, then blaming it on me. I’d like to think the missus knows better, but I don’t know. Sometimes she looks at me like she’s got a real beef. No, I don’t have any pockets. Funny, ‘innit?”

Whiskers Pete

13 Dresden St., Northern Lights

“Not a dwarf. You ever met a lawn dwarf? Of course not. Lawn dwarves are ridiculous. Snow White should have had seven gnomes. We got better names.”  

“Gimli”

1665 Agler Rd., Gahanna

“Ever since Lord of the Rings stopped being a doorstop and started being a modestly entertaining series of films everybody in there has been calling me ‘Gimli’. I haven’t even seen the films and I know they’re trash. Not for nothing, name’s Dan, but Gimli sells the shirts, so whatever.”

Bromwell Sticky

709 Frankfort St., German Village

“I’m actually a lawn jockey, but one of them gave me what you’d call ‘a second coat’ when one of the kids came home from school during Black History Month and made some noise. But, you know, still not a gnome.”  

Lonnie Party Lots

5424 Buttles Ave., Short North

“It’s not a bad gig, really. Every holiday Mr. Jones decorates me with something festive. Even the weird holidays: Presidents Day, Arbor Day. On Labor Day he gives me a little lunch pail and one of those big paychecks with my name on it. You can’t just go to Party City and buy this stuff, you know? So some years he has to make it himself. No, he’s not married. Why do you ask?”

Moffet Poppet

931 Dale Dr., Dublin

“You don’t even want to know what the dog has to say about these people. It’s enough to make a gnome blush, provided they aren’t made out of Quickrete.”