Just because I said does it make it real? Will the media, should this blog post become newsworthy (hey, it's happened before), blindly report that 1 million people are expected to read this?
Well, they do when it comes to Fort Lauderdale's big boat parade (which is sponsored by the Seminole Tribe -- you do know they will someday own EVERYTHING don't you?). The Winterfest website makes the claim here, explaining that
In 2007, Winterfest is estimating 1 million cheering spectators (viewing from the new route, hotels, bridges, condominiums, Grandstand Viewing Area presented by Tostitos, private homes and aboard approximately 1,500 water crafts- along the 10 miles of parade route)
And then the claim magically appeared in the Sun-Sentinel story on the naming of Lorraine Bracco as this year's grand marshal-poobah-commandante-merciless dictator (big news, folks, Dr. Melfi's gonna be in town!).
Of course the 1 million figure is nonsense. If it gets a quarter of that (still an impressive number) I would be surprised. Fort Lauderdale activist Cal Deal called bullshit on it and actually did some calculations. Here's what he wrote to Sentinel reporter Jennifer Gollan:
Please stop with the absurd Chamber of Commerce crowd estimates. One million people watching the boat parade? Not even close! The entire county has a population of only 1.8 million!
In order to fit 1 million people along the 10-mile route — allowing a very, very tight (and unrealistic) 3 feet per person — the people would have to be standing 28 deep on both sides of the waterway. Not gonna happen. Give them a roomy 4 feet per person, and the crowd is 38 deep. Even with high-rises ... not gonna happen.
Note in the accompanying aerial image that much of the route consists of canals with private homes where density will be very low.
To tell you the truth, I think you'd be pushing it to say that 100,000 might turn out.
When I worked at The Miami News (died 12/31/88), this became an issue with regard to the Orange Bowl Parade. We finally started rejecting the unrealistically astronomical "estimates" and settled on a more realistic approach.
The Sentinel should too.
Nicely done, Cal. I project that 500,000 people will be impressed by your work.
(Okay, I was going to savage this year's theme of "Magical Movie Moments" but due to time restraints will have to let it go for a later date.)