Blast from the past: Hoop, there it is


Junior flower girls wait for the processional at the 2009 graduation ceremonies at the Grape Bowl in Lodi. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

Since the 1920s The flower girl procession has been a graduation tradition at Lodi High. Junior girls carrying bouquets of flowers and dressed in satin hoop-skirted dresses march into the Grape Bowl heralding the graduates entrance.


Junior flower girls precede the graduates at the 2009 graduation at the Grape Bowl in Lodi. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)


Junior flower girls form a corridor as the graduates march in at the start of graduation ceremonies at the Grape Bowl in Lodi. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

As they walk, the girls gracefully sway their hips causing the hoop skirts to gently swing like pastel-colored bells. They then form a corridor for the grads to march through, sashaying as they mark time. After the grads are seated, the girls hand the bouquets to the graduating boys who in turn give the flowers to their female classmates.


5/24/99: Hoop skirted Lodi High student Kalena Schock shows her exhaustion by throwing her head back sticking & her tongue out after practicing the flower girl routine in the hot sun for Lodi High graduation ceremony at the Grape Bowl.

This year, I once again shot the Lodi graduation and the elegant tradition remains. It reminded me of 1999 when I shot a flower girl rehearsal a few days before graduation. It was a stifling hot day, with the half-bowl shape of the Grape Bowl blocking whatever little wind there was that day. To help fend off the midday heat, the girls were allowed to wear tank tops and t-shirts but still had to wear the hoops. Finally the heat got to be too much for one girl who threw her head back and stuck out her tongue in exhaustion. Not very graceful I suppose, but better to do it during rehearsal than at the actual event.

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