Friday, July 17, 2009

Small Town 4th of July Parades

Today, my blog is featuring Linda, my wife, as a (guest blogger) describing the 4th of July parade, that we recently saw in Sandpoint, Idaho. Patriotism is alive and well in small town America. Flags decorate shop windows, cars, houses, even people in shirts and pants. As with most 4th of July parades, people bring out the best of the best of their community.

Mayors and city council members ride in old fancy cars. School dance troops and marching bands perform for adoring family and neighbors. Troops and local police and firefighters are honored. Local organizations, groups or clubs get free advertising with fun decorated floats. Political views are expressed with creative floats as well. People bring out their Model-T’s, hotrods, and classic cars, flames and all.

Brett and I were in Sandpoint, Idaho for this year’s 4th of July parade. The sidewalks of downtown were staked out early with sitters in lawn chairs along the curb and there were already people standing behind them against buildings. People had their dogs and even a mini horse on leashes. It was a warm morning and the line at the one Starbucks in town was out the door and then some. We heard one couple passing by waited 20 minutes for their coffee drinks. We happened to go down a side street for a 44 oz soda instead.

Staking out a spot in the shade against a brick building wall, we waited for the parade to start. The sidewalks were crowded but everyone was in a celebratory mood. The parade started around 10:00 a.m. with a small band of local troops carrying flags. Many men stood up and took their hats off and there was a joyful cheer for the troops as they passed by. Then came a Scottish bagpipe marching band, followed by the Mayor and other city representatives.

But there were definitely things that I haven’t seen before in a 4th of July parade before. How many Monster construction equipment, bulldozers and dump trucks, do you see in an urban parade?

Or racing chasing tractors? Or huge logging trucks? Or covered wagons? The gardening club with a wheel barrow with a “Compost Happens” sign that follows after the horses pooping down the street was creative and funny as well as practical.

The high school or middle school marching band was absent, but replaced by the dance troop. The one “marching band” was sitting in a truck (legs dangling off the gate). Bicycle troops promoted an eco-friendly living.

The parade lasted for about a hour and a half which is impressive for a small town, although we heard from relatives that it seemed shorter than usual.

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