Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July

Wanted to wish everyone a happy 4th. We are missing our traditional 4th on the west coast but we went to a little parade and festivities thing in town this morning and plan to head out for some fireworks tonight. I'll post pics from the morning stuff later. It was quaint and cute, which is what our town does best, I guess. They had a little country band at the end that was good, they played some great banjo, fiddle and bass songs that got some of the crowd dancing.

The 4th is almost as exciting for me as Christmas. As a kid, there was a lot of anticipation involved and I couldn't wait to get downtown in the morning. morning. We always went to the 4th of July parade in Ashland, Oregon which started with a flyover of jet planes from the airbase in Klamath Falls. That was always my favorite part of the entire thing. The parade varied over the years, from being a small town parade to something of a commercial wonder in the mid 80s, back to a small town parade again. There were decked out Dodge vans one year (with hot tubs and furry dashes complete), and big semis with advertising on the sides (not one of the better years). There was always a cool artistic element (which Ashland is known for), as well as kazoo bands, lawnmower/lawnchair brigades, and old style firetrucks with sirens and lights blaring.

After the parade, everyone would head down to the heart of Ashland along Lithia Park where tons of booths would be set up and there would be a stage for bagpipers, cloggers and other entertainment. You could get lost in the crowds, it got so busy some years. After you got your fill of booths and food, you would head farther up in the park to the bandshell where the city band would be playing marching songs all day long. You would find a shady spot on the awesome grass and just chillout...a little piece of heaven I think.

After dark, the fireworks would begin, and when I was little they did them off the hills across from Ashland and we would watch them from the grass at the Junior High but inevitably one would blow up low and the hills would catch fire (which would cause a delay in the show until it was put out). These days (don't know if they are still doing it this way since I haven't been there for a while), they let them off at the football field at the local college (less fire hazard). You can see them from almost anywhere in Ashland. As a teenager, I would walk to the field with my friends (walking was faster than driving in that traffic) and we would get as close as we could so your heart would pound when they blew up right over your head. I was always sad a bit when the grand finale would happen because I knew that the day was over and I would have to wait another year to see it again. I always loved 4th of July in Ashland, and if I lived anywhere close these days, I would be there every year.

In more recent years, when J and I moved to Washington State and my sister moved to Portland, we started hanging out in Portland for the 4th. We didn't get to see a parade but we would go down for the Blues Festival in the park along the river and then a great firework show from barges in the river. It was so much fun hanging out with them and their friends, we planned to do it every year. Maybe if we end up on the West Coast again sometime soon, we can celebrate the 4th in our old tradition or the new tradition, but for now, we will enjoy the day that we have here (sunny, bright and full of patriotism) and look forward to next years celebration when the day is through.

Blogger won't upload pictures right now....grrr!


Joanne said...

Where I grew up, it was alway small town 4th of July. The parade was a lot of small groups and people with their pets decorated in red/white/blue ribbons. And then the fireworks were put on by the Kiwanis at the high school football field. Good times those were.

Last night, I went to a friends apartment on Lake Union and it was gorgeous and cool, but sometimes I don't think it holds a candle to those small town types.

Chicken said...

I wonder what it's like there now. We didn't do anything fund this year. We were too tired from everything we did during the weekend. Plus I had to work.

Mishka said...

J-I like the small town thing...even if it is missing some of the big city hoopla.

C-I am sure the 4th in Ashland is still awesome...I found some pics online from last years and it looks cool. Wish I could have been there. That sucks that you guys didn't get to do much. Maybe if we end up that way soon, we can start doing it again.