Click on image for slide show
The image, above, is from the 2008 Seattle day-after Thanksgiving Day Parade. I got there later than usual, but enough to walk around the staging area for about an hour. They stage the parade in a 2 block radius from the start up the hill, so it gives enough to photograph which adds as the parade progress from the start at 8:45 am. Once it passes the start, you're essentially free to walk around for other shots, as the parade route is crowded and difficult to get photos (policed along the route).
I usually get my Christmas card for the year from the group, see last year's (top photo). I love the informality and relaxed atmosphere of the staging area and the freedom to walk anywhere and photograph. You just have to be aware after it starts with the coordinators starting the next one in the line. They also give more room and people will pose if you obviously have "better" equipment, meaning one or more larger cameras with a camera bag.
For what it's worth, I use a Canon EOS 5D and EOS 1N with 4 lenses (35mm to 135mm) . I never got my mind around those cameras with the APS-sized sensors. After almost 40 years I'm still a full-frame photographer. I'm not a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination and skills, namely I'm a observational photographer.
And I'm a minimalist with photo editors. I try to capture the best photo (flim) or image (digital) when I'm standing there, but I also make mistakes, forgetting this or that, the complexity of newer cameras. I use the Galen Rowell approach and method, but occasionally forget to reset something, or watch the sky and forget to change the light/color balance. But this time, it was overcast with showers so the light was even throughout the time.
Anway, when all was said and done, there is a sample.