'A premier parade’: High-Wheel bicyclist prepares return to Waukesha's Christmas parade
MADISON Wis. (CBS 58) -- Participants in the Waukesha Christmas parade are gearing up for Sunday's big event, including Jonathan Bee, a high-wheel bicyclist who's one of many determined to return to the parade route that ended in a gruesome tragedy a year ago.
Since 2015 Bee has performed in dozens of parades across Wisconsin. The 71-year-old from Madison is often seen in flashy outfits designed for each occasion, but Bee said, Waukesha's holiday parade stands out from the rest.
"They put on a premier parade," said Bee. "They go all out. They are so hospitable and give the performers hot chocolate, cookies, changing rooms, warming rooms and they just make you feel really welcome, which isn't the case at every parade."
This Sunday will mark Bee's third appearance in Waukesha's parade where he will return to the route that forever changed a community and hundreds of lives.
When asked why he decided to return this year, Bee said, "I don't want to let the bad guys win. If the Dancing Grannies got back out there, then so can I."
Bee was inspired by the band of women after performing at the same event with the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies in Stoughton's Syttende Mai Festival less than seven months after the tragic event.
"I saw the Dancing Grannies come out all enthusiastic. It brought a tear to my eye."
This year, Bee is hoping to bring some cheer to a beloved tradition.
"It's not just for me, it's for the spectators," he said. "I have people come up to me after parades and say, thank you for bringing joy. Another woman said, 'Thank you, for continuing to do this.”
The Waukesha Parade will be held on Dec. 4 and it begins at 4 p.m. This year's theme is "Peace on Earth."