Don’t rain on his parade

Doron Shalom aims to make Holon’s Adloyada bigger, better and more creative every year.

Don’t rain on his parade (photo credit: TZIPI YIFAT)
Don’t rain on his parade
(photo credit: TZIPI YIFAT)
Around this time of year, one man loses a lot of sleep. Sitting up nights, Doron Shalom, director of events for the Holon Municipality, plays out multiple scenarios in his mind, each of which is connected in some way to the weather forecast. The earliest prediction available comes out 10 days before the big day, the day set for the Adloyada Purim carnival in Holon, but Shalom starts fretting about the weather long before that. For Shalom, the difference between clear skies and overcast is tantamount to pulling off his prized jewel on the calendar.
“There are two incidents that I remember that were very moving,” said Shalom in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post. “One year, before the parade began to march, we were all getting ready, and it started to rain. I saw how the kids were starting to cry because they thought the parade might be canceled. I took the microphone to encourage them, and I told them that they should look up to the sky and that the sun would shine. After 15 minutes, the sun came out. Two or three minutes after the parade ended, the rain returned. That kind of timing...what can I say? When you believe, you don’t fear,” he says.
“Another incident I’ll never forget happened two or three years ago. We knew that it was supposed to rain. When I called the weatherman, I asked him what day to have the Adloyada, Sunday or Monday. He said not Sunday, but Monday. What happened was the opposite. Sunday was nice, and the day we decided to do the event it rained. After the parade was already in motion, it started to rain. But when I saw the kids, little kids, around six and seven years old, not giving up, doing splits in the puddles, it expanded my heart. Those kids make it worth every second of worry and hard work,” he says.
For more than two decades, Shalom has been in charge of making the annual event come to pass, a challenge that Shalom has embraced with great enthusiasm. Under his guidance, the event has blossomed from including a few hundred participants to drawing more than a quarter of a million cheering, marching guests. Children, parents, professional musicians, dancers and singers all mark their annual calendars long in advance, anticipating the magic of the coming year’s Adloyada. “We are very surprised at how much the event continues to expand, although we really believe in what we are doing,” says Shalom.
“We started small. Then it got out of control and went big. But with being big comes big responsibility. The Israeli public votes with their feet when there’s something good. It takes a full a year of work to make this happen and the help of a lot of people, from teens to professionals. This country, with everything we go through all year, especially this year, deserves it. It’s a challenge, and every year it becomes more challenging. We want to be bigger, better and more creative.”
This year, the carnival will focus on toys. To prepare, carpenters and designers have spent weeks putting together the impressive floats that will travel the length of Holon’s Sokolov Street. More than 20,000 flowers will be used to create an enormous toy train, which will be followed by dancers dressed as flowers. A larger-than-life chessboard featuring handcrafted pieces made in the image of Knesset members will follow with a trail of hundreds of children. Even the characters from the electronic game Angry Birds will be represented in this year’s Adloyada. Other familiar characters set to march are SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Bimba.
The parade will finish at the steps of the municipal building, where an enormous party featuring Brazilian music and dancing will take place. Shalom, along with the production staff, will be onsite, making sure that everything goes according to plan.
And as the children return home to wash off their makeup and take a nap, Shalom will begin planning how he can top this year’s carnival.
“My hope is that Adloyada will continue to be a tradition here in Holon. Outside of Israel there are carnivals that have been going for centuries. I hope that this event will gather all the people from around the country and be a joyous experience for the entire family. We can’t ever cancel it. It’s a national event,” says Shalom.Adloyada will take place in Holon on February 24 from noon to 4 p.m.