Paul Catt had a thousand things to take care of Tuesday.
“I’ve got a to-do list a mile long,” said the Trinity United Methodist Church facilities manager.
Take down Easter signs.
Work on sprinklers.
Oh, and put out 50 chairs along the church’s sidewalk for Saturday’s annual Hernando DeSoto Historical Society Grand Parade and its own Great Parade Party.
There were other chairs put down by folks staking out their territory, too.
Among them were two at Alvarino Insurance, two at Edward Jones Investments and four at Gary Sweetman Photography.
But the long row of fuchsia colored plastic chairs strung together with yellow caution tape took the prize for earliest and most.
“We block off the space so other people don’t do it,” Catt said. “In the past, Wednesday was early enough, but when I see them across the street, that’s when I’m going to do it.”
He meant DeSoto Plaza with Peaches, Scissors and Memory Makers among other businesses.
There were 13 chairs along its sidewalk.
Kathy Schrader, a hair stylist at Scissors, and Lyn Lineberger, the owner at Memory Maker special occasion gowns, lined up most of them Tuesday morning.
“If we don’t put them out, we may not have a spot,” Lineberger said. “People will snap up all the choice places.”
Like the church, the plaza is a great site for a parade party.
“Years ago we’d put our chairs out on Thursday, but it seems everybody wants to mark their spots earlier and earlier, said Scissors owner Jane Simpson.
“They don’t want to miss out.”
The parade definitely will be long enough for all to see.
Last year, it had 164 entries.
This year it is 191 -- with 76 floats -- according to Sharon McGlynn, the DeSoto executive director.
Which Gary Sweetman is glad to hear, even if he won’t be present.
Those chairs in front of his studio belong to folks with the Manatee West Little League, who got his permission to stake out his sidewalk.
“I’ve done it for other people before, and all I ask is please put your trash away,” Sweetman said.
“They’re usually good about that.”
Paul Catt was already thinking about Saturday night’s post-parade church detail.
“Hope we get some volunteers,” he said.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.