Monday, July 04, 2011

A Haines Alaska Independence Day

Q: What do they do in Alaska in the summer?

A: If it falls on the 4th of July, they have a picnic.

Small town Independence Day -- there is nothing more Americana!

Temperatures were in the high 50s in Haines when the festivities began at 11 AM -- I don't remember ever wearing a winter hat and mittens on the Fourth of July before! I guess I am just a warm-weather-wimp now -- some Alaskans wore sleeveless tops and were seemingly quite comfortable.

The Parade

First, the reading of the Declaration of Independence, in full, by the young man in the white shirt and red tie. He is standing on the mobile judge's stand.

The crowd was with him as he spoke of "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness." By the time he got to the charges against King George, some of the parade-ready were wearying a bit and multiple personal conversations cropped up. Most didn't hear him say "transportating," twice -- a word never imagined in 1776. Sensing the end was near, however, the crowd rallied when he got to one of my favorite lines: "... we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." What a powerful thing to write, and what courage it took to sign.

The "Men of Note" then sang the National Anthem a capella, while some in the crowd saluted, some placed their hand over their heart, and some recorded the moment for posterity as the parade waited patiently in the background.

Then it started! First came the American Legion:
Then came the trucks! Firetrucks, gravel trucks, business trucks, work trucks -- almost every truck in town was decorated and put into service pulling a float or carrying waving passengers. Everyone in the parade threw wrapped candy to the kids on the sidelines:
And the kids did an amazing job cleaning up the street between trucks!
The Civil Air Patrol was represented -- and one marcher managed to 1)turn the wrong way, 2)stop too soon so the person behind him/her ran into him/her, and 3)salute with the left hand -- all in the space of 30 seconds. Still, discipline never waned and smiles were never cracked:
Just one word comes to mind for this parader --- "why?"
A cycle built for two:
The Bald Eagle has landed:
And the "Oh, no!" float:
The Fun and Food:

After the parade, we skedaddled to what John called the "City Park/Cemetery" (they are contiguous and seemingly the same place) for more celebrations.

First we had a hamburger while we watched the Bubble Fun:

Then we had free watermelon, thanks to the American Legion:
Then we had pie, in our case apple-rhubarb:
There was also face painting, a clown making balloon animals, a car raffle ($100 per ticket, only 350 to be sold!) and a whole lot of people having a wonderful time.

Can't forget the mud volleyballer's pit:

Fireworks are scheduled for 11 PM this evening, and it might just be dark enough.

All day, flags were flying, bunting was flapping, and everyone was enjoying a great Alaska day:

It doesn't matter what state you are standing in on this day -- we are truly one nation, indivisible. Happy Independence Day!


Nancy said...

Yesterday we watched the Catonsville Parade and the description of your parade matched ours in MD! I thought of you and the time we walked to watch the parade! Now, I set my chairs out days ahead of time to be a true Catonsville-ite!

Sharon Del Rosario said...

I love small-town parades! It looks like Haines goes all out for theirs. Thanks for sharing.