Parade, arts festival offer wide range of family-friendly activities
By Marcy Stamper
It’s hard to know whether people celebrating the first Independence Day 240 years ago were decked out in “paleo bling,” but locals can observe the holiday in style by making their very own early-modern accouterments at this year’s Fourth of July festivities on Monday.
July 4 in the Methow will also be marked by entertainment with an international flair, contests in pie-eating or hula-hooping, hands-on art for all ages — and, of course, the traditional parade of decorated floats and local troupes through the heart of Twisp.
The parade, led by the rodeo queen and a procession of horseback riders with flags, typically features young violinists on a flatbed truck, kids on bikes with streamers, and floats decked out with recycled bottles and cans.
“Anything goes, as far as floats,” said Vicki Hallowell, the Twisp police clerk and parade organizer. Elected officials and representatives of area businesses join in, along with animals — horses are most common, but other livestock may also show up, said Hallowell.
Right after the parade, which steps off at 11 a.m. from the TwispWorks campus and proceeds north on Glover Street, head over to Twisp River Park for the 29th-annual Methow Arts Festival, entitled “Art Is Rhythm Is Art.”
Methow Arts is bringing in the award-winning Asian-American drumming troupe Portland Taiko for a group celebration of rhythm. The group’s nine members weave together rhythm, melody and choreographed movement, which will get people dancing as it reverberates throughout the park. Taiko comes from Japan, where it was used in religious ceremonies, theater and community festivals. Portland Taiko will also offer free interactive lessons as part of their performance.
Also in the percussion department is the Methow’s own Hoodoo Marimba ensemble, 11 women who play the traditional Zimbabwean polyrhythmic melodies on marimbas of all sizes with an infectious energy.
Rabbit Wilde, a folk-pop quartet from Bellingham who combine backyard folk with a big-city edge to create their distinctive high-energy sound, will cap the day’s musical offerings. The group’s original take on the classic string band includes percussion, six-string ukulele and cello.
Another form of movement at the festival with international roots is poi dancing, in which weights on the ends of tethers are swung in a rhythmic pattern. Local dancer Christina Stout will perform and give free lessons in the art form, which originated with the Maori people of New Zealand.
The arts fest also features aerial arts and a paint pendulum with local aerialist and circus performer Sarah Prochnau, who will perform and give free lessons in basic aerial moves.
There will be more than a dozen hands-on art booths, where people can make their own musical instruments and accessories — like tin-can bongos and shakers, beaded ankle jingles, and copper bubble wands. People can also make a ribbon skirt (sort of like a hula skirt) to swirl with the music.
The festival offers many visual-art opportunities, including tie-dyeing, copper bubble wands and ribbon sticks. Or try your hand at creating an intricate geometric pattern using pendulum painting.
Many of the day’s activities are free, including the pie-eating and hula-hoop contests and hanging out with the Sunny Pine Farm goats. People will also have a chance to try out aerial gymnastics and learn ancestral skills, like elderberry containers, rawhide boxes and the all-important paleo bling. There’s also a free music arena for very young fairgoers.
Other booth prices vary — some cost just one ticket and some require several tickets.
Refreshments will be provided by local and regional food vendors. Look for Indian cuisine and homemade ice cream sandwiches from Rocking Horse Bakery, hamburgers and brats from the Twisp River Pub, Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches and brownies from the Fork food truck, wood-fired pizza from Manja Pizza, and Mexican fare from Tonasket-based Tacos Jalisco. Blue Star Coffee will have iced coffee; other beverages will also be available. There will also be Old Schoolhouse Brewery beer, spiked lemonade and wine in the shady beer garden (ID required).
The Methow Arts Festival starts right after the parade at around 11:30 a.m. in the Twisp River Park and runs until 3 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 5 to 15 years (which includes five booth tickets), and free for kids under 5. A group pass, which admits four people of any age and includes five booth tickets, can be purchased in advance for $29 at Methow Arts in Twisp (www.methowarts.org), or through www.brownpapertickets.com. Additional booth tickets are $1 each.
Want to be a part of putting on the festival? Methow Arts is still looking for volunteers. Volunteers get free tickets, T-shirts, snacks and drinks. Call 997‑4004.
Anyone wanting to march in the parade needs to fill out an application, either in advance at the Twisp Town Hall or online at www.townoftwisp.com. People can also fill out the application at the parade assembly site at TwispWorks at 10 a.m. on July 4.