Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Everybody Loves a Parade!

After church today (and a traditional Methodist potluck featuring fresh Sockeye Salmon) the City of Unalaska put on it's biggest community celebration. It started with a parade, as you can see. So I'll give you a parade of pictures to celebrate your 4th of July.

It's much the same across small town America. Onlookers gather in anticipation shortly before the parade begins. Note the weather!

The Unalaska parade starts with the colors, of course, carried by the Scout Troop. But the very next thing in the parade is the police and fire trucks, horns and sirens blaring, lights flashing, and folks throwing candy. (Yes, they still do that here.) With that at the beginning of the parade, I wondered how we'd know when the end of the parade would come, but that became obvious.

Immediately, and I do mean immediately, following the fire truck were the children on their bicycles which were gaily decorated in red, white, and blue. Poor kids must have been deaf by the end of the parade, even though the route was only about 1/2 mile long. It was easy viewing--the parade came right by the church! The folks from the library walked carrying a banner and handing out fliers for their summer reading program.

Then came a most interesting group. The employees of the local cannery, UniSea, had a float followed by a group of their employees marching in the parade. They spoke almost no English. When I started to take their picture, one young man said, "Mama, Mama!" Then he held up his hands as if to take my picture, and all the other marchers gathered around and struck a pose so I could take their picture! They were having a ball. When they went on, they said something like "HaPee ForJu!" (I will write more about canneries in another blog, but all the big canneries are owned by the Japanese, and most cannery workers are foreign.)

The most ornate "float" was on the back of a truck and occupied by a group of Brownies in their uniforms. Sorry, no picture, but another great "float" was promoting clean ocean waters, and it was also very well done.

The entire parade lasted less than half an hour, which was just right in the 48 degree weather. Oh--and the end of the parade? The Lions Club with its scooper crew. No horses, no dogs, so they scoop up candy wrappers, missed pieces of candy, dropped flags and snack papers, etc!

The parade was followed by a festival at the grade school where the fire department served hot dogs and hamburgers, there was a big bouncy castle, firemen ran water games for the kids as well as a dunk pool--yes, at 48 degrees, they filled the pools with the fire hoses! There was a bake sale, an indoor game area, and a huge turnout!

Tonight there will be fireworks at the beach, about 100 yards from our house. The fire and EMS folks will base at the parsonage, and we'll supply hot cocoa for them. Oh yes--this takes place at midnight!! And it won't even be completely dark by then! What a day.

Hope you all have/had a safe and happy 4th of July.

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