Some who attended the Grapevine Parade of Lights Thursday night questioned why a conservative group carried a sign with political overtones during a family-friendly event.
Ben Randolph said he was at the parade to see his daughter’s dance team perform. He chastised the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce for allowing the True Texas Project to participate.
“Everyone was looking to enjoy the lights and come together as a community and you let in a group designed to divide us in. It turned a happy occasion ugly,” Randolph said.
He said the chamber needs to do a better job vetting participants.
The Star-Telegram sent an email to the True Texas Project asking about the sign, but did not receive a response.
However, Julie McCarty, CEO of the organization, posted on her Facebook page that the parade theme was “A Storybook Holiday.”
“Oh what a night! As we walked down Main St in the Grapevine Christmas Parade with 10s of 1000s of Texans in the crowd... applause would break out and they’d start cheering! They’d even take pictures of the signs we carried so they could capture the website. The kids would literally scream in delight, ‘It’s George Washington!’ Parents cried out, ‘Let’s go, Brandon!’ We counted 3 naysayers... one threw an F bomb, one called us racist, and one booed. The rest loved us,” McCarthy wrote in the post.
RaDonna Hessel, CEO of the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce, said in an email to the Star-Telegram that the chamber does not discriminate against nonprofits. The True Texas Project applied before the deadline, and there were no rules preventing the group from participating, she said.
Hessel added that the person had the words on the back of a sign that she was carrying and the sign was not displayed in the staging area before the parade started, but the words were shown when the person turned the sign around several times along the parade route.
“The event does not discriminate against entries, but those that participate sign agreements to follow the rules. Unfortunately, in this case, someone made the decision to use a family event for this type of display. There are rules which prohibit signage other than those which state the organizations name, or are used as a part of the entrant’s design to match the events theme, which was ‘A Storybook Holiday’ ”, she said.
Laura Leeman, co-chair of the group Protect GCISD (Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District), said she was at the parade to participate in the group’s float which was about holiday stories from throughout the world.
Leeman said she didn’t see the sign during the parade because she was focused on her group’s float, but she heard about it after the event.
“I think people need to speak out about what’s appropriate. If ‘Go Brandon’ didn’t have such an offensive meaning, I think we all know what go brandon means to the far right, to bring that into a holiday parade where families are is very inappropriate,” she said.
“Let’s Go Brandon” became popular after it was used after an Oct. 2 NASCAR race at the Talladega Superspeedway when race car driver Brandon Brown won his first Xfinity Series, according to an AP report.
Brown was interviewed by an NBC sports reporter who suggested that the crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Brandon,” but it turned out to be an expletive referring to Biden. Republican politicians have used pictures of the meme including Sen. Ted Cruz who posed with a “Let’s go Brandon” sign at the World Series and Mitch McConnell’s press secretary retweeted a photo of a sign at a Virginia construction site, the AP report said.