The 2012 Small-Town 4th of July Parade Recap

If you want to get a good seat at my hometown 4th of July parade, you’ve gotta get there early. And hard-core parade junkies like me aren’t going to let a little heat get in the way of snagging those front-row (or front-curb) seats. So this year, Husband dropped me off uptown two hours early so, being the glutton for punishment I am, I could guard our regular spot, in front of Chris’ Photography and one of the too-many vacant storefronts on the north side of the square.

Loaded up with four chairs, a beach towel, water, sunscreen, candy bags for the kids, a book and a camera, I was a little surprised when I saw that there were still many curbside spots left. Then I glanced at the east side of the square, where the buildings and awnings provided shade for an already crowded group of parade watchers, and realized that this was because most people in town weren’t stupid. And apparently I was. No matter that it was already 98 degrees at 9:15 in the morning and that I was settling in for a good two hour sunbath before the parade even started. It was tradition to sit in this spot! Sure, we could never understand the parade emcee on the loudspeaker here; it wafted over in Charlie Brown’s teacher-esque “waah waaaahs.” And sure we had a perfect view (and if we were lucky enough to be downwind — smell) of the porta-potties across the street in the courthouse parking lot. But it was tradition. And we didn’t need a pretty view, or shade, or to be able to hear, in these here parts. We were tougher than those east-side dandies.

At 9:30, as I was wiping the sweat out of my eyes, I started to rethink tradition.

But fortunately for me, tradition was saved when Chris (of Chris’ Photography fame) opened up her shop and invited me to come guard my chairs with her in the comfort of her air-conditioning. She did not have to ask twice. If she hadn’t offered, I’m pretty sure when the rest of my family showed up at 11, all they would’ve found in my chair was a puddle, along with my corn-cob pipe and stove-top hat.

The parade provided some old favorites as well as some new additions. And as always, a few head-scratchers. For instance, we always have an abundance of old and classic cars. But apparently the definition of “classic” has become a bit liberal. If this is the standard, I’m pretty sure my 1976 Chrysler Cordoba with the robins egg blue “pleather” interior from high school would’ve looked pretty sweeeeet in the parade route… I’m not entirely convinced that this person wasn’t just trying to find a place to park.Coming in under “old favorites” were the walking Spam can (apparently getting a bit big for his aluminum britches now, he refuses to walk in the parade and demands to ride like royalty)…

the choreographed shopping cart routine performed by the Fareway grocery employees (I’ve heard tryouts are cut-throat!)…

and of course (we ARE in Iowa, folks!)…lots and lots of tractors.

“I don’t need no stinkin’ umbrella…I don’t care how hot it is!”

Wusses…

The kids tried to keep cool while darting around for candy. It was so hot that the bubble gum being thrown out by parade participants was already melted, which was as awesome as you imagine it was. Here my poor nephew, who was making his first appearance at our parade, tried to keep cool with a wet washcloth. Heat exhaustion, peat, uh, mexhaustion…it’s never too hot to celebrate our country’s freedom, people!

The poor saps giving away Freeze Pops in the parade never knew what hit them. Here, Boy #3 tries to eat his in the 3.4 seconds before it turned into hot grape sugar water.

I don’t think this poor guy realized he wasn’t really in the Civil War. Really, dude, we’re a free, united country now. You can just wear a pair of shorts and a tank top!

“If I don’t see at least one politically polarizing float, I swear I’ll jump!”

 

Whoa, man, take it easy! Here you go! (I don’t even think I get this one. Must mean I’m one of the “dummies”…)

You say you want to see animals? We’ve got animals! Nah, it wasn’t too hot for them. The marching band? Yes. A horse wearing a heavy saddle and carrying a 230-pound man for several miles on hot concrete? Nope.

(He was carrying a gun, so I don’t think the horses had much choice in the matter…)

Horses weren’t the only animals that paraded through town. We also saw goats…

and corn dogs…

Zac Galifianakis even made an appearance and showed off his karate ninja skills!

And of course, George was there. Who’s George, you ask? No idea. But he is counting on our vote. For what, I’m not sure either.

Like most parades, our town offers up some coveted awards every year for entrants.

And every year they win the “Best Use of Color” award.Those Red Had Ladies just think they’re soooo coool.

I think this float won the “Best Use of Duct Tape” award.

And my favorite parade entry this year, by far. In fact, I am bestowing my own award to them: “Most Enthusiasm.”

Are we having fun yet?

Thanks for reliving the 2012 4th of July Parade with me. Stay tuned for a review of our carnival!

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