Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A parade! A parade!!

I couldn’t tell you the last parade I went to, but I am pretty sure it has been fifteen or twenty years. I have always loved parades. The gathering, the food stands, the seeing and talking to everyone. I wish we had more parades. It’s such a funny thing, that we celebrate things with objects moving in front of us, one often having little to do with the other. This weekend I felt up for a parade, and a small-town parade seemed the way to go. In the neighboring town of Columbia Falls, it was Heritage Days.

I drove down the mountain and over through farmland, making me feel like I was back in the Midwest... and the parade lent the same feeling. In what must be a town of around 1000 people, there were definitely more bodies packed onto the sidewalks, sitting on curbs, resting in chairs and drinking waters and eating ice cream. The pride and joy of the parade seemed to be the Budweiser Clydesdales, which seemed somehow ironic to me-- that I would come 2500 miles away from home to see the horses that reside a mile from my house.

It was a fantastic parade, almost an hour long. There were trailers of hay with members of the Columbia Falls class of 1958 riding (and other trucks with the classes of 1968, 88, and 98, though the seventies seemed conspicuously absent). There were classic cars (and then a car show), ambulances and firetrucks, and every local business. There were random semis and logging trucks. The Shriners drove their small little cars. People rode on horseback, many dressed in character. There were kids doing gymnastics and three pretty talented kids riding very tall unicycles. There was a gorgeous stagecoach and a cowboy throwing a lasso. And then the Clydesdales, for which finally, many people took out their cameras. There was not one float, but I did love the variety of transport used; it felt like almost every part of the town was represented.

Following the parade, there was a wild horse drive down the highway to the rodeo grounds. Sadly, I missed it. There were dances and carnival rides, competitions and community meals. And later, a rodeo.

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