Wow! As you could tell by Chris Peterson’s great pictures last week, we had another great parade in downtown Polebridge on the Fourth of July. My favorite floats were the North Fork Outhouses and the Redneck Red Bus. Both were prizewinners, so obviously others liked them as well. Actually, every entry helped make the parade a success.
Not so obvious, but certainly well received, was the reading of the Declaration of Independence by local military veterans. This is now a tradition, started by Ray Brown several years ago. He arranges and acquires the sound system and organizes the reading. It is very moving and I don’t think it is my imagination that the veterans are better readers every year, putting ever more emotion into the famous words.
While the spectators await the second passing of the parade (the parade starts at the Merc, goes out to the North Fork Road, and then returns to the Merc), magician Dan Jimmerson entertains the crowd with amazing feats of magic.
After the parade there is great food and drink, fresh baked goodies, and a variety of booths offering items from huckleberry lemonade to herbs, spices, honey, and a collection of photos, plus all of the goods in the Mercantile itself.
New attraction this year were not one but two modern unisex bathrooms complete with stainless steel fixtures. They offered a nice contrast to the more odoriferous porta-potties.
Also enjoyed were the multi-flyovers by the World War II fighter trainer. I think this was at least the third year for the flyover. One year there were two planes — both World War II vintage.
Finally, of course, there is the traffic. The parade route means that access to and from Glacier Park is closed for over an hour. Polebridge Lane has cars and spectators wall to wall on both sides and the North Fork Road has cars on both sides for a quarter of a mile north and south.
First priority is to let folks into the Park as well as let folks out of the Park. Once the road is unblocked, traffic can begin to move — even if it is slow. Thanks to Dan Jacobson and his full-sized relatives plus the cooperation of folks who just stumbled into the parade, all went well. There were no accidents and no fights. Thanks again Dan and family.
Next big North Fork events are next week. The first GATR party (Gather at the River) is the evening of July 11 and the Memorial for Esther Chrisman is on July 12, Esther’s 90th birthday.
Larry Wilson’s North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.