The Fourth’s dimensions
It’s beginning to look a little like the Fourth of July. After a year’s absence, there will again be a parade in Twisp, followed by live music. If traditional weather patterns are any indication, it will be sunny and hot. Bring sun screen, your vaccinations won’t protect you from melanoma.
Later in the day, there will surely be illegal fireworks around the valley, no matter that the place will be tinder-dry. Some folks just have to celebrate Independence Day by acting independently of common sense or consideration for anything else. It would nice if all those fire trucks coming down Glover Street did not have anywhere else to go that day. That would be a great way to appreciate our first responders. Be a grown-up: Wave a flag, forget the explosives.
The venerated holiday falls on a Sunday this year, but the Fourth is the Fourth. Some shops and other businesses may be closed, but a lot of them would be shut down for the day anyway. Some people will have to work around church. I think the legal holiday is Monday, so that may be a day of recovery for parade revelers.
I’ve joked that on the Fourth of July, if you live in Twisp you are either in the parade or watching the parade. But people also come from all over the valley to enjoy this quintessential small town event. It’s a minimal investment of time for a big dividend of smiles. It pays to set up on the route early, especially if you are looking for shade. BYO chair.
The Twisp parade has always been pleasingly quirky. You never know what might show up, especially this year. I’ve seen some things that I did not quite understand. The sponsoring Twisp Chamber of Commerce has issued a come-one, come-all call for people to take part. Home of the brave, indeed. Maybe this year there will be more participants than observers. The down side of being in a parade is that you can’t watch the parade.
Starting with 2011, I think I’ve missed just one Fourth of July parade in the past decade. After the first year, I was never just a spectator. I have always roamed up and down Glover Street with a camera slung around my neck, looking for the classic parade images: kids scrambling for tossed candy; fire trucks throwing geysers of water into the air; people singing, dancing, riding, playing instruments or just walking along.
As a photographer, it’s hard to go wrong. It doesn’t feel like work. And there is always lots of interaction between the paraders and the spectators because they know each other. By now, I know a few people on the sidewalks and in the parade myself. I still give the horses a wide berth. I expect to be out there again this year, as will a few other Methow Valley News photographers. We can’t help ourselves. And our photo spreads win awards.
By the Fourth, Washington state is expected to be essentially restriction-free as far as COVID protocols go. I expect some people will continue to wear masks, for their own reasons, and some businesses may ask that patrons continue to don masks. On a day that commemorates freedom, let’s not give anyone a hard time about their choices. It’s been a long two years since the last color guard horses led off the promenade, and we’ve all dealt with a lot. A let’s-get-along Sunday would be a nice thing.
Our Fourth of July isn’t fully recovered from COVID-19 (can holidays get vaccinated?). We’ll again miss the Methow Arts Festival, but TwispWorks will fill in with live music by the band Danville after the parade, at the Pavilion — where it all begins and ends. Other than that, we’re kind of on our own, a non-typical Sunday at the height of the tourism season. I wonder how many genuine out-of-towners (the part-timers count as locals, as far as I’m concerned) will find themselves drawn to the Sunday morning commotion. And I wonder if they will understand the simple joy of a parade that is truly of the people and by the people.
Some newspapers print the Declaration of Independence in their opinion space on the Fourth. I think that’s kind of cheating. We should take the time to find and read those powerful words ourselves. How hard could that be? Not as hard as it was to declare the formation of a new nation, with a terribly uncertain future, in 1776.