An Exuberant 4th of July in Othello, Washington!

July 2022 – We celebrated the 4th of July in the small farming town of Othello, Washington. And what a spirited celebration it was!

Crowd in Othello Washington watches the 4th of July parade

People line the main drag in Othello, Washington, to see the 4th of July parade!

Othello is in the heart of farming country in eastern Washington, tucked into a vast checkerboard of crop circles as seen from the sky.

Othello Washington Satellite Image Map

Othello is a lively community in a sea of crop circles.

There are around 8,000 residents, and much of the population is farm workers from Mexico or of Mexican descent.

We fell in love with Mexican culture while sailing Mexico’s Pacific coast for almost four years, and if there’s a group of people on this planet who know how to celebrate any holiday with gusto, it is Mexicans!

Even though a big storm was threatening and the sky was turning black, there was no way anyone was going to rain on this 4th of July parade!

4th of July Celebration

Party!

As we waited for the parade to begin, Buddy got a little extra loving from the kids around us.

Pup gets some extra loving

Buddy gets special ear rubs.

And then a group of four police cars turned on their sirens and slowly crept by us, leading out a really fun and unusual parade.

One of the first things to go by was an old car labeled “Bonnie and Clyde” followed by some kids riding bicycles. The woman standing next to me said her family had lived in this town since 1953 and that she had ridden her bike in the parade as a little girl. The roots in Othello, Washington, go deep!

Bonnie and Clyde plus bicycles

Bonnie and Clyde were pursued by kids on bikes!

Soon a beautiful Rodeo Queen, Miss Rodeo Othello, rode her horse past us.

Rodeo queen in 4th of July parade

Miss Rodeo Othello!

A crazy shark or fish was dancing around waving. The kids next to us waved back enthusiastically.

4th of July parade

A dancing and waving fish!

Kids watch the 4th of July parade

Note the little boy’s bag:
“One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” from Dr. Seuss!

This 4th of July parade was really all about the kids. And the kids were all about the candy being thrown into the crowd. A lot of kids came prepared with bags to hold their loot!

Kids run for candy in 4th of July parade

So much candy…and so little time!

Kid runs for candy in 4th of July parade

Score!!

There were discussions between the kids about who got what, and how to snag the particular candies you wanted before the next kid got ’em.

Kids at 4th of July parade

“…so you run from behind and grab it..!”

Kids run for candy in 4th of July Parade

“I did it!”

The farms in this area are huge, and it takes huge equipment to work the land. The little tractors of yesteryear are long gone, and several gargantuan pieces of farming equipment were shown off in the parade with great pride.

Big farm equipment in Othello Washington 4th of July parade

Massive farms require massive equipment.

Big farm equipment in Othello Washington 4th of July parade

The little ol’ 1950s era John Deere tractors we see at antique tractor shows have grown up…these monsters have air conditioning, GPS-based autopilot, stereo, etc. You name it, it’s got it!

Many families have farmed here for generations and some had floats in the parade. One family was so large they had two floats!

Family float at 4th of July parade

A longstanding farm family in this community has their own float (or two!).

I asked the gal next to me if her family was a farming family, and she said no, they had all been in various services to support the community of farmers: fire fighting, sheriff’s office, and construction were a few of their occupations.

Soon another massive piece of equipment native to Othello, Washington, rolled past. This time it was one used for construction rather than farming.

Construction equipment at 4th of July parade

Farm equipment isn’t the only massive gear in Othello…construction equipment is too!

Of course, lots of politicians floated by, hoping to secure a vote or two, and then the Adams County Sheriff’s team made an appearance. These guys have the normal cop cars we’re used to seeing, but they also get to ride around in a very cool side-by-side!

Adams County Sheriff side-by-side in Washington 4th of July parade

A slick ride for the county Sheriff!

I’m not sure what kinds of search-and-rescue operations this particular sheriff’s office has to perform, but they’ve got the gear to get you out of a terrible bind if you’re in one!

Adams County Sheriff Search and Rescue equipment 4th of July parade Washington

Imagine a search and rescue team arriving to help you in this!

We were loving this unusual display of things that are a part of day-to-day living in this small town in eastern Washington. 4th of July parades happen all across America, of course, but each one gives the town a chance to celebrate, honor and display the things that are unique to their communities.

We were also loving the antics of the kids and the crowd. This was not a shy crowd, and as the ground grew thick with candy, everyone ventured out into the street to grab a few pieces until the parade participants and the parade watchers all got mixed up together. Watching the kids with their bags getting fuller and fuller, I said to Mark, “This is better for them than Halloween!”

Kids and flags at 4th of July parade

All that impressive gear aside, the parade was really about the kids.

Kids get candy at 4th of July parade

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Overhead, a drone flew by, taking it all in.

Drone flies over 4th of July parade

Candid camera.

Next up were the cars.

Mark had caught sight of a few flashy cars before the parade when they were strutting their stuff and revving their engines all in a line heading to the parade start. Most of the cars were lovingly souped-up later model cars. A Nissan GT-R caught his eye, though. And a Plymouth Roadrunner, the only muscle car in the parade, brought a huge grin to his face. For me, I liked the Chevy Impala low rider that could raise and lower its front end.

Low rider in Othello Washington 4th of July parade

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Even better was the toddler in the crowd who had his own set of very cool wheels.

Toddler in toy car at 4th of July parade

The best set of wheels in the parade.

The parade ended with another round of sirens from a fleet of fire trucks and then we all wandered over to Lion’s Park. The sun began to come out, and with it the entire town came out to the park.

Lion’s Park is very large, and it was filled to the brim with food tents, various competitive events and kids swinging their hearts out on the swingsets at the big playground.

Buddy relished the lush green grass and rolled over and over with glee.

Puppy rolls in the grass

“The parade was cool, but this grass is cooler!”

A band was setting up and some teenagers were having a 3-on-3 basketball tournament where the two small teams played at a single hoop.

Suddenly, the lovely voice of a young woman singing the Star Spangled Banner came over the loudspeaker, and everyone stopped what they were doing to listen.

After she finished, we noticed that there were all kinds of yummy things for sale over in the very long line of food tents. The BBQ wagon looked tempting.

BBQ truck at 4th of July fair

Yum!

But it was the wonderful Mexican fare that got our mouths watering. We hadn’t seen these things since we were in Mexico nine years ago, and it was all so familiar and heartwarming to see it again.

First was the Mexican drinks. Mexicans make all kinds of delicious cold drinks that are really refreshing on a hot day. From “horchata,” a sweet rice based drink, to “Agua de Jamaica” (pronounced “A-wah day Ha-my-ka”) made from hibiscus flowers, they have endless tasty and unique cold drinks. And here they all were in a colorful row!

Mexican drinks for sale at 4th of July celebration

Delicious ice cold Mexican drinks!

Another booth was selling piña coladas in pineapples just as we saw on the beach in Mexico. Yum! I suspect they were virgin piña coladas at this family park, though, which of course they weren’t on the beach in Mexico!

Mexican pineapple drinks at 4th of July festival

Piña coladas served in pineapples.

And then there were mango slices in a plastic cup sold with a stick for stabbing them and popping them in your mouth. Again, we saw these refreshing snacks in many towns and on many beaches in Mexico, and it was a total hoot to see them here in a small farming town in rural Washington!

Sliced mangos mexican style at 4th of July fair

Sliced mangos…so much easier and cleaner to eat this way!

The city park was abuzz with activity by now. The music was going, people were picnicking, kids were playing and running in the playground area, and the basketball tourney was in full swing.

Over in the skate park there was a skateboard competition getting underway. We were really impressed watching the kids warm up. It was incredible they could do all kinds of tricks on the crazy concrete curvy walls of the skate park and not break their necks.

All of a sudden a kid came flying through the air right at me. And then another did a wild trick in mid-air. How fun!

Skateboard contest 4th of July celebration

Weeee!

A couple sitting next to me were the parents of one of the senior competitors. They’d driven from a town 90 miles away so their son could compete in this tournament. He was 17 now but he started skateboarding at age 8. The dad had tried it when he was a kid too, but he didn’t take to it. His son, however, took to it right away, riding his skateboard everywhere, even around the house, and now he was one of the guys doing wild tricks and jumps.

Skateboard contest 4th of July festival

We’d never seen a skateboarding event before…very fun!

The 4th of July is a unique event in this world, honoring the birth of our nation as an independent and free state. For many, the meaning behind those words has intensified lately, and with that in mind, we found it particularly moving to be a part of such a colorful birthday celebration in a small western town!

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Kanab, Utah, 4th of July – Stars & Stripes in the Red Rocks!

July 2019 – One of the great things about traveling in the summertime is being able to enjoy the 4th of July celebrations in a special place. This year we were near the small town of Kanab, Utah, and we eagerly went into town to see the parade.

4th of July parade Kanab Utah-min

Uncle Sam greeted us as we came into town!

We were staying over the border in Arizona, and we’d forgotten that in the summer months Arizona and Utah are in different time zones. Utah is always in Mountain Standard Time while Arizona floats between Mountain and Pacific Standard Time depending on the time of year because they don’t change their clocks for daylight savings.

We’d planned to arrive about a half an hour before the parade started, and as Mark parked the truck he glanced at the clock on the dashboard and was about to say, “Perfect timing, it’s 9:30,” when he noticed our truck’s clock said 10:30.

Oh no!

4th of July parade Kanab Utah Parry Lodge-min

We missed the start of the parade, but what we saw was wonderful.

Luckily, the parade was still going on and we saw some fun things roll by. A bright red fire engine went past and then there were a bunch of RZRs all dolled up in red, white and blue. There were some other interesting contraptions too.

4th of July parade Kanab Utah RZR group-min

A RZR brigade in red, white and blue (hey, what are they passing to each other?!)

4th of July parade Kanab Utah RZR group-min

More RZRs!

Tricycle Kanab Utah 4th of July parade-min

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4th of July celebration in Kanab Utah-min

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A few antique cars beeped as they passed by the historic Parry Lodge where all the Hollywood stars of the Golden Age stayed when they made hundreds of movies in the beautiful red rocks around town.

Parry Lodge 4th of July parade-min

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Antique car 4th of July parade Parry Lodge Kanab Utah-min

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Antique car 4th of July parade Kanab Utah-min

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Smokey Bear made an appearance in the back of a US Forest Service truck. And then one of the Hot Shots standing on a Forest Service fire truck gave us all a big spray.

Kanab is an hour’s drive from any town big enough for a city-sized supermarket, but the grocery store in town, Honey’s Market, keeps everyone’s pantry full. A lady clown from Honey’s Market brought up the rear of the parade, slowly making her way down the street, chatting with friends and neighbors and giving out goodies to the kids.

Kanab was settled in 1864 when Fort Kanab was built, and in 1870 ten Mormon families moved into the fort to establish the town. A huge mural on the side of a building depicts the arrival of a wagon train at Fort Kanab.

Mural Wagon trains arrive at Fort Kanab_-min

The full mural of the wagon train arriving at Fort Kanab

There is lots of detail in this mural — the excited pioneers at the front calling out to the people at the fort, the weary travelers further back in the line, and the folks hanging out at the trading post as the wagons slowly come in.

Mural Kanab or Bust-min

“Kanab or Bust!” – The wagon train was greeted warmly when it arrived.

Mural in Kanab Utah weary wagon train travelers-min

It was a long journey, and some walked much of the way…

Mural in Kanab Utah welcoming party at Fort Kanab-min

Shooting the breeze at the trading post

Back in the glory days of Hollywood, Kanab played host to visiting celebrities making movies, but today it is a tourist town. It isituated conveniently between three of America’s major National Parks: Grand Canyon (North Rim), Zion and Bryce Canyon.

It is also close to Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Cedar Breaks, Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Kanab Utah is near many national parks-min

Kanab is conveniently located in between many gorgeous places.

Over in the town park the 4th of July festivities were in full swing when we walked up. The lush green grass and the vibrant red rock backdrop were beautiful, and the mood was decidedly festive and upbeat.

4th of July celebration Kanab Utah-min

Kanab has a beautiful town park and the party was well underway when we got up there.

Red, white a blue stencils of all kinds had been spray painted on the grass, and lots of people were decked out in stars and stripes.

4th of July party in the park Kanab Utah-min

An old windmill honors Kanab’s ranching history.

Dressed up for 4th of July-min

Everyone was wearing red, white a blue, and some outfits were really cute!

Tents were set up with all kinds of beautiful arts and crafts for sale, and the food court was humming.

4th of July party in the park Kanab Utah-min

There were arts and crafts and food galore!

4th of July party Kanab Utah-min

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The most fun — and coolest — spot to be was near (or in) the water fountain. The water jets sprayed on and off in all directions, and the kids had a blast.

Playing in the fountain 4th of July-min

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Playing in the fountain 4th of July-min

What a great way to cool off!

Buddy wasn’t sure what to make of the constantly moving streams of water, but he was grateful for a drink from Mark’s helping hand.

Puppy gets a drink-min

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It was a wonderful and hearwarming day and a great way to celebrate the 4th of July. If your travels take you near Kanab, Utah, on Independence Day some year, stop on by. This town puts on a wonderful celebration!

4th of July Celebration Kanab Utah-min (1)

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4th of July in Cody, Wyoming – The Cody Stampede Parade!

July 2018 – Every year we are somewhere different for the 4th of July, and this year we were lucky enough to find ourselves near Cody, Wyoming, a vibrant town just east of Yellowstone National Park that celebrates the 4th of July in style.

This morning we found a spot to watch the 4th of July parade opposite the historic Irma Hotel. Buffalo Bill built the Irma Hotel in 1902 to encourage tourism to the town of Cody which he and several other investors had founded in 1896.

Crowd 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

The crowd gathers in front of Buffalo Bill’s historic Irma Hotel for the 4th of July Cody Stampede Parade.

The parade announcers were set up on an upper deck and they entertained us while we waited for the parade to begin.

Announcers 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

The announcers got the crowd going.

The American flag was on proud display all over town.

Flags and crowds 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

We saw lots of American pride.

Polaris General 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

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And lots of folks were dressed in stars and stripes or at least in red, white and blue.

Flag jacket 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

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Waiting for the 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

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Young and old alike waited patiently while more and more people showed up along the parade route, camping chairs and flags in hand.

Waiting at the 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

“I hope it starts soon!”

Cody, Wyoming, is accustomed to extending a warm welcome to throngs of summer tourists who drop in for a visit on their way to or from Yellowstone National Park.

The town hosts a professional rodeo — the Cody Stampede Rodeo — every night all summer long. It is held in their huge rodeo arena on the edge of town. The Cody Stampede Rodeo also hosted this 4th of July parade, and some of the rodeo folks rode their horses up and down the parade route, waving to friends and keeping an eye on things.

Rodeo stampede guard 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Riders from the Cody Stampede Rodeo rode up and down the parade route.

This 4th of July Parade in Cody was actually the third parade this week. A kiddies parade was held on July 2nd and a preliminary 4th of July parade was held on the 3rd!

Finally the big parade began, and it began with a flourish.

Beginning 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

At last the parade began with a grand military display.

Then a whole slew of Rodeo Royalty went by, each of the girls and women more beautiful than the last. There were Rodeo Queens from various cities and states, and there was even the Rodeo Queen USA, if I caught her title right.

Rodeo queen 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Miss Rodeo Mississippi.

A few days earlier we had bumped into some younger rodeo royalty at a parking lot in town. Blair, the Junior Cody Stampede Princess, and her older sister Bridger, also a member of the Cody Stampede Royalty, had just finished doing the first of the three parades, and they posed for me next to their horse trailer.

Blair explained to me that becoming the Junior Cody Stampede Princess involved not only equestrian skills like barrel racing, but a modeling contest, a written essay exam and an oral exam as well. Congratulationss to her and all the other rodeo princesses and queens!

Cody Rodeo Stampede Junior Princess and Royalty Blair and Bridger-min

We caught up with Rodeo Princess Blair and her older sister Bridger a few days prior.

There was royalty of another kind too. A woman who has appeared in the Cody 4th of July Parade for 35 years walzed by with her famous pink poodle. She hammed it up delightfully and showed us all what it’s like to be 82 years young.

Pink poodle lady 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

82 years young — in high heels — with a pink poodle to boot!

There were floats of all kinds.

Riding hogs and chasing chicks 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

“Riding hogs and chasing chicks!”

And a lineup of wonderful antique cars.

Antique cars 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Antique cars that might have driven through Yellowstone National Park back in the day!

One local family was celebrating 100 years in Wyoming since their ancestors arrived as homesteaders in 1918.

Fales family 100 years 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

The Fales family homesteaded in Wyoming 100 years ago.

The theme of this year’s 4th of July Cody Stampede Parade was “Wyoming – Buckin’ through time,” and with that in mind a few of Wyoming’s early mountain men went by.

Mountain men 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Before the homesteaders there were the mountain men…

One of the really fun local tourist attractions is a shooting range, the Cody Firearms Experience, where you can shoot all kinds of intriguing guns, including a gatling gun from the Civil War era. They showed it off during the parade!

Gatling gun 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

This guy shooting the gatling gun was having too much fun!

4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

You can shoot the gatling gun too over at the Cody Firearms Experience!

There were also marching bands of all kinds. The Cody High School Band strutted past and quite a few other bands from other Wyoming towns went by as well.

Cody High School Band 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

No parade is complete with out the local high school marching band!

Tuba and marching band 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

There were lots of marching bands from all over the place.

Marching band 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

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The city of Cheyenne sent quite a bit of talent to the Cody Stampede Parade. This was very impressive since Cody and Cheyenne are in opposite corners of Wyoming, over 400 miles apart!

Drummers 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

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There was a bagpipe band too!

Bagpipe band 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Bagpipes!

You can’t have a 4th of July parade without some noisy fire engines, and sure enough, If the gatling gun and marching bands weren’t loud enough, the sirens on the fire engines certainly were!

Old fashioned fire engine 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

The fire engines made the most noise, of course!

Wyoming, like all the western states, is beset by wildfires every summer, and just as there is a “snow season” and a “fall foliage season” there is a “wildfire season” too. A big round of applause went up for the wildfire hot shot firefighters as they went by.

Wildfire firefighter hot shot 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

The wildfire hot shot fire fighters are much appreciated every year come wildfire season!

We were also treated to a sighting of the Wells Fargo Stage Coach. This is a really ornate and beautiful stage coach, and the folks riding inside and on it were all members of the Wells Fargo family.

Wells Fargo Stage Coach 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

The folks in and on the Wells Fargo Stage Coach were from the Wells Fargo family!

Perhaps my favorite part of any parade is all the kids running around. I just love the excitement, and they are so darn cute. Lots of the parade folks threw out candy for the kids, and they ran after it with glee.

Kids run for candy 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

The cute kids chasing the candy were my favorite part of the parade!

Chasing candy 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

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It was a wonderfully warm and sunny day, and whether they had barefeet or boots on, the happy kids were running wild and free.

Running for candy 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Nevermind the candy. Just running around barefoot is fun!

Dressed for the 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Shorts and boots and stars and stripes!

Sometimes the littler ones weren’t quite quick enough to get a handful.

Kids chase candy 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Oh, I didn’t see that one!

Score! Kids gets candy 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

“Score!”

But there was plenty of sharing going on too.

Sharing candy 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

“Here, have some.”

The Cody Stampede Parade was just terrific. If you didn’t catch it this year, perhaps you will next year!

Running with the American flag 4th of July parade Cody Wyoming-min

Happy Independence Day!!

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An Old Time Country 4th of July – Custer, South Dakota

Some of our favorite 4th of July celebrations have been in small towns, and this year we were very fortunate to be in Custer, South Dakota, in time for their festivities which they call their Old Time Country 4th of July.

Custer town is nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the normally quiet streets were overflowing with visitors as the townspeople gathered for the parade.

Fourth of July Parade preparation Custer South Dakota

An RV in town for the 4th of July is passed by fire trucks as they head to the parade start.

There are loads of little tourist shops in town, and red-white-and-blue-wear was available in every style and every size.

Red white and blue clothes for 4th of July

Local shops offered many ways to wear red, white and blue!

The younger set were particularly fashionable.

Children's parade 4th of July Custer South Dakota

Kids went all out to dress up for the 4th.

We had arrived in Custer a few days earlier, and we had heard from everyone we met that Custer’s 4th of July celebration was very special. And they were so right. We got a huge kick out of it!

As people arrived with chairs in hand to stake out a spot along the parade route, an announcer got the crowd fired up on the front steps of the museum. He called on people in the crowd to find out where they were from. Lots of folks were from Utah, Arizona and Colorado, but there were people in town from North Carolina, New Hampshire and other far flung states as well.

Announcer 4th of July Custer South Dakota

There was a hub of activity around the museum in the middle of town.

The hallmark of Custer’s 4th of July parade is the kickoff when nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base, over in Rapid City, South Dakota, sends a B1 bomber right down the main drag for a flyover. What a rush! I got a video clip, but like the real thing, it’s over almost as soon as it starts!

B1 bomber 4th of July Custer SD

After burner glow…

The parade began with all the town kids dressed up in America’s colors riding their bikes. What a great idea!! From toddlers on balance bikes to little kids with training wheels to big kids zipping along on two-wheelers, they were all decked out. Some even had balloons.

Children's Parade kids on bikes 4th of July Custer South Dakota

The parade started with all the local kids on their bikes decorated and dressed up in red, white and blue.

Then Old Glory arrived followed by the Mayor carrying the Custer city flag, and soon after we saw Uncle Sam strolling past on stilts.

Flag bearers 4th of July Custer South Dakota

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Uncle Sam on stilts 4th of July Custer South Dakota

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There were lots of cars and trucks including an old Fire Department Salvage Truck.

Old fire truck 4th of July Parade Custer South Dakota

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The junior fire fighters put their fire hats on and plugged their ears as the big fire trucks drove by.

Junior fire fighters 4th of July Parade Custer, South Dakota

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A snake oil salesman snuck into the parade, along with several vehicles honoring American veterans. Then a very cool old yellow truck went by with a huge flag representing a group that cares for disabled vets. We got a closer look at it after the parade was over as it drove back through town.

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Operation Black Hills Cabin 4th of July Custer South Dakota

“Operation Black Hills Cabin” cares for disabled vets.

Later on, the day was capped off with a fantastic fireworks display.

The fireworks were shot off at Pageant Hill, but they could be seen from all over town. Before the fireworks began, the city’s fire trucks circled the town with sirens blaring. At first we thought something had gone wrong, but as people continued to arrive all around us and calmly set up their chairs to watch the fireworks, we realized the parade of fire trucks with lights and sirens whirring was all part of the show.

It seemed to take forever for darkness to fall, but at last the fireworks began. The show went on for a very long time and ended with a big finale. We had a blast taking photos…

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Fireworks 4th of July Custer South Dakota

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When you begin planning your RV travels for next summer, if you’re looking for a fun town to celebrate the 4th of July, head to Custer, South Dakota!!

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