Go Fourth!

With 4th of July events cancelled all over the country and the current political unrest and unhappiness, it seems hard to celebrate Independence Day with enthusiasm.

For many years, Child and I took part in two parades every 4th – the Tangletown Parade and the Richfield Parade.  The Tangletown is a homegrown parade in which kids dress up their bikes and dogs sport their best red, white and blue bandannas in order to follow a firetruck through the neighborhood, followed by a big party at Fuller Park with games, music, face painting and a big picnic.  The last few years I’ve gone up to the high school parking lot where the parade starts to see everybody in their finery and then I head home.  Then later, YA and I go down to Richfield to watch their more traditional, candy-throwing parade.  I got hooked on this parade when YA was in gymnastics and her team was part of the parade line-up.

No parades this year.  Richfield unilaterally cancelled all the 4th of July stuff and Tangletown cancelled the parade and party, but is doing a decoration contest and neighborhood scavenger hunt.  I hadn’t though about decorating (besides putting out all my flags) because I didn’t really want to put any money into it but then something I saw yesterday changed my mind.  In walking Guinevere, we found a house up on the water tower hill that had outdone themselves with their chalk decorations.  Their entire driveway was filled with a huge chalked American flag and then the sidewalk all long their property was covered in fireworks.  Such a low-cost and low-tech way to decorate – I think I’ll get my chalks out in the morning (before it gets too hot).  And I might even have enough Independence Day spirit left over to do the scavenger hunt with Guinevere on our morning walk!

How have you traditionally celebrated the 4th?  What’s different this year?

46 thoughts on “Go Fourth!”

  1. This year we are in Brookings with son and DIL. It is a potty training weekend for grandson. We will stay in with the timer set for reminders to visit the bathroom, eat yummy food cooked by our son, and go see the town fireworks when it gets dark.

    I traditionally go wild setting off fireworks, but not this year. Maybe next year.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. We used to have a cabin overlooking the southern shore of Lake Superior, just a bit west of the village of Cornucopia near the Apostles Islands of Wisconsin. “Cornie” threw a modest fireworks show to celebrate the Fourth of July. When I say “modest,” remember that the population of the town is just 98 souls, so their budget for pyrotechnical displays is limited.

    The show had a family-friendly feel. We all got to see it up close and personal. The fireworks, when they went up, were almost literally directly overhead. Awaiting the show, families would set up picnics in the sandy beach in front of town, many families building little campfires to heat up wieners and make s’mores. Kids ran up and down the beach waving sparklers at dusk. It was sweet.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. My favorite Fourth memory is when son Joel was two, we were in Muncie IN for grad school – they had almost a carnival – I remember us all going down the giant slide, then watching the fireworks with lots of other similarly situated families.

    In Robbinsdale we could see most of the fireworks from a little upstairs porch, so we usually stayed home. Once we watched the ones from the 3rd Ave. Bridge downtown Mpls – can that be right?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ah, and what’s different this year is I feel like I already celebrated by watching Hamilton! Wow! Jacque, in comment last night you said you’d read the book – do you mean the one by Lin-Maneul Miranda? I’d like to see it again after reading something so I’d catch more plot detail. And this looks like a meaty article that I’ll have to read later… https://www.vox.com/culture/21305967/hamilton-debate-controversy-historical-accuracy-explained

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MIranda based the musical on the book “Hamilton” by Ron Chernow. I read that one. I will tell you that when I read it, I did not envision the musical version.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Usually Lou and I get to stay home for July 4th because he always plays in the city band for the city celebration. Then later we go to the top of the SW Station parking ramp and watch fireworks from every city around us.

    Our most memorable Fourth was watching fireworks from an airplane when we returned from a most enjoyable trip to Rome for 2 weeks in 2009. Every large and small city we passed over had a display. They looked like fish bubbles in a lake.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. When my parents bought a home on Crystal Bay of Lake Minnetonka, they learned that the LaFayette Club put on an annual 4th of July fireworks show right across the water from their new home. For many years, we gathered in chaise lounge chairs to watch that show. It should be a happy family memory, but somehow I never got in the spirit of it. Before the show an incredible number of boats filled the bay, sprinkling the view with red, green and white running lights. There would be so many boats it looked like you could walk across the bay, going boat to boat. But what I remember was sitting there feeding mosquitoes for what seemed like hours. The show fell short of being spectacular except for the night when one of the early rockets landed on those waiting to be used, and the whole thing erupted in a brilliant moment of chaos. After the show all the boat captains would be beyond drunk, and sometimes boats would begin shooting fireworks at each other.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. She is very much the same, BiR. She is healthy enough to visit a gym most days. She is lonely, but that has been true since forever. The funky Crystal Bay home, once typical of inexpensive structures around Minnetonka, is now a precious remnant of a culture that has disappeared. My sister’s two sons seem committed to taking over the property when my sister can no longer maintain it. They want to “keep it in the family,” which heartens me.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Happy 4th!
    My family has been texting about what we’ve done over the years.
    I know I’ve told before about going to my Grandma’s house with all the cousins and she lived just a few blocks from where the Rochester fireworks were done. Watermelons and squirt guns.

    That ended about 1987 or so. I had a brother-in-law that was a fireman in a small town nearby and they set off the fireworks for quite a few years. Went there a few times.
    After meeting Kelly, her aunt and uncle had a tradition of making a big brown paper bag of popcorn (in oil in the big pan on the stove) and parking down near the park to see the fireworks. Timing was crucial because it was a ‘No Parking’ zone but when everyone sort of parked at once it was OK. So you had to time that right.
    (One time years later it was Kelly and I and the kids and we missed the magic moment but parked in the driveway of the power plant across the street. A police officer told me I had to move because this was an emergency driveway. I asked if it was OK if we stayed and IF there was an emergency then we’d move? He smiled. No.)
    When the fireworks were over, you IMMEDIATELY threw everything in the van and got out before traffic got bad. That was the joke for years. “TIME TO GO! NOW!!”

    Pretty quiet this year I think. Maybe I’ll bale some hay. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Can’t say that I have ever developed a tradition around celebrating the 4th., though I have had some memorable 4th of July celebrations in the past.

    Years ago there used to be an annual celebration of the 4th on the grounds of the State Capitol. Initially it involved mostly a bandstand with with various entertainment throughout the afternoon, a few food and drink stands, and folks lounging on blankets on the grass. A relaxed and leisurely celebration that culminated with fireworks once it got dark. Very enjoyable, we thought. One year, early in the day, the celebration included an attempt to set a world record in terms of band and choir size. Under the baton of Dr. Ben ably assisted by George Latimer, we rehearsed for hours under the blaring sun. At one point Latimer, standing high above us on some metal hoist, got so enthusiastic in flailing his arms about, that the baton went flying into the crowd below hm. In the end, we had an enjoyable performance of some music and songs appropriate to the occasion. We failed to set the world record, but we sure had fun trying. Wonderful memory.

    Then the celebration evolved into a Taste of Minnesota commercial enterprise. The area was fenced off, and you had to pay to get in, and purveyors of food turned the whole affair into a State Fair like experience, with matching crowds. We went a couple of times, but the whole event had lost most of its charm.

    Later the celebration migrated to Harriet Island when the Capitol area was too small to accommodate the crowds. We attended only once when it was there, though it was closer to our house. At the end of the fireworks display, the logistics of getting the massive crowd to their cars or off the island, overwhelmed the authorities, and we were herded like cattle to the slaughter to wherever police could control the flow of traffic. That’s the memory that stuck with me. We never went back.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PJ my erstwife and I attended at least one of those Harriet Island concerts. We could have been sitting near you. Like you, we gave that up because the irritations of being in a crowd were greater than the fun of the performances. Really, I hate crowds, with the single exception of the State Fair.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Two of my most treasured memories of 4th celebrations are of concerts at Orchestra Hall. Aaron Copland directing a program of his own compositions. The evening ended with this glorious piece of music:

    The last ten years of so, we have celebrated the 4th with a late afternoon meal on the front porch of our dear friend Ann’s house. She lives in a historic mansion on Crocus Hill overlooking downtown St. Paul. Gin and tonics served with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a meal of whatever each participant had been instructed to bring. One participant, an old, retired geology professor, would show up each year in an extremely colorful interpretation of Uncle Sam (in shorts). What a hoot. We must have a photo of Paul in that outfit somewhere around here. We’d all be home long before fireworks were set off.

    This year there’s no celebration. Ann is 86, and Hans, at 70, is by far the youngest of the usual suspects. Over the last five years, two of the regulars at these gatherings have passed away, and at the moment, two more are in hospice care; we may well have seen the last of these get-togethers.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. OT – I think I’ve mentioned on here before that I’m currently immersed in learning more about American history, and that one of the sources I’m using is Dr. Heather Cox Richardson. Here’s a note that she posted a short while ago, that may or may not be of interest to those of you with a Kindle:

    “Not sure if this is of interest– I don’t read on a Kindle myself– but someone just pointed out to me that today Amazon has discounted my West From Appomattox to $2.99. This book walks through the creation of the American middle class around an ideology of independence. It’s a really smart book– my smartest until the most recent– but I think it’s a bit dense, personally. Still, lots of good stories in it. It was intended to resurrect the Myth and Symbols school of American Studies. No one ever noticed that was the point, but because of that there is a lot on literature, art, and culture (including the radical origins of the game Monopoly).

    A fun fact on the writing: the book was patterned on a romance novel. I wanted a way to tell 35 years of history as a narrative, and couldn’t find a way to do that. Turns out the answer is to follow a few characters throughout the whole period, just as romance novelists do. So, after becoming obsessed with learning all I could about the techniques of romance novel writing, that’s what I did. My characters are real, of course: Julia Ward Howe, Booker T. Washington, Jesse James, and so on. (They had to stay alive throughout the whole period or die in some significant fashion.)

    Another fun fact: the other people who carried an idea through a long period of time very powerfully were the writers of the Lord of the Rings films. Their writers’ version of the director’s cut was so useful to me, I thanked them (by their initials) in the acknowledgements.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks guys, all of you. I’m okay. When your best friend is 98, you should know better than to expect a long friendship. She was an astonishing person, and it was an honor to be her friend. I only knew her for six months. Early in my time here I had no friends at all. Then the virus put an end to our contacts. I last saw Anne in March.

        This place–for various reasons–has strict rules against staff members talking about one resident to another. I support that. But I’m left knowing nothing about Anne’s passing except that it happened.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. PJ: I have one burning question. I really want to hear that Anne’s son was allowed to be with her at the end. I don’t want to hear that she was deprived of any comforting from a family member. Her son lives in St Paul and would have wanted to be there, but the rules here are so strict.

          Liked by 2 people

  11. OT – Tonight, out of the blue, I got friend request on Facebook from a former GAP student. I’m always cautious about accepting new “friends,” so I wrote a personal message to verify that the request did in fact come from the person it said it did and not from someone who had hacked into her account. As it turns out, the request was legitimate, and I accepted it. An old student somehow remembered that I had helped her write a grant request for funding for a student trip to Washington DC and wanted to thank me for it. That had to be twenty years ago, and I have no specific memory of it, but it sure makes me feel good that apparently it made a difference to her. Made my day.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. my 4th memories as a kid were to jump into the station wagon and make the drive from minneapolis to detroit lakes to hang out with the fargo cousins. my dad had two brothers who had a bunch of kids and we’d have firecrackers enough to blow up all day long.
    we’d have a rented cabin and more fun than a kid could hope for. one family had cousins dan and tom and matt all great cousins who were fun. other family had johnny jeff and mike who were more aloof but added to the fun. we’d put firecrackers in logs and dirt pile and tin cans. uncle casey and uncle paul would give us cigars to use for punks to light the firecrackers for an hour at a time and running around the trails and paths at that years cabin was all a kid could hope for. night time fireworks were a bag of whistlers and spinners and rockets lit but oldest brother casey as we all sat lakeshore and ooohhhed and awwwed
    great memories

    my kids remember the 4rh in yellowstone as that was our tradition. they laughed about how our tradition was to go to gardener and park in the parking lot by the laundromat so debbie could get a few loads done while we waited for the the fireworks to start. the town was 10 or 20 storefronts and restaurants and people would come out of the park to see the fireworks as they didn’t light up stuff in the park after the great fire of 1990 or whenever it was yellowstone burned to the ground . my son was laughing yesterday about how the guy would light one firework and run off so as not to get burned then come back and light the next and run away again . slow and homey with a grand finale that was lighting 2 or 3 at once for the big effect to cap it off
    fireworks at the organized locations never did much for me. i guess i think about it and realize i’ve been to quite a few but never one i’ve enjoyed enough to go back a second year
    this year it was bean bag toss in the back yard with social distancing and shift of air conditioning. 2 year old grandson has a pool to jump in. two extra dogs to go with my two make it interesting. one daughter in chicago but other 4 kids were here. grandma and sister for a group of 10 or so was perfect.

    Liked by 6 people

  13. We took our family to a nature park today so Husband could show 2 year old grandson how to catch sunfish off the dock. We caught and released several, and saw an enormous snapping turtle swimming around. I converted grandson’s crib into a toddler bed with the conversion kit they had. He is very excited by the new bed. We continue to potty train. We head home on Tuesday.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. When I was a teen there was a carnival that came thought town every Fourth of July weekend, rides like the Scrambler and the Octopus, and some food booths and a beer garden. It was a big social event in the summer, you’d see all your friends there. I always looked forward to that. There were fireworks, I’m sure, but the fireworks were not a huge deal.

    A couple of the best fireworks displays I saw in the 80’s were at the fairgrounds. You could spread a blanket on the ground and lie down with the fireworks going off almost directly overhead.

    When I bought my house I used to walk over to the bluff to see the fireworks when they were at the capital or at Harriet Island. Over the years I got pretty jaded about them, though. It seemed like there were more nights of fireworks – not just on the 4th,, but every night while the Taste of Minnesota was going on, a solid week or more, and they always seemed to think that more is better. Some of the displays would go on for 45 minutes, and people with kids had to leave before the finale, because a lot of kids don’t have that kind of attention span for fireworks.

    I think fireworks are best reserved for the 4th, and twenty minutes is plenty.

    Liked by 1 person

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