Local Spectacle, Again

Every year, the little town I currently live in holds its big Star Spangled Spectacular for the 4th of July, chock full o’ Americana and patriotic as it gets. Flags fly, classic cars assemble, dudes on motorcycles rumble through, pie and pork burgers and tacos in bags are sold in alarming abundance, and it only takes a quick tour of the festivities to run into almost everyone you know.

Spectacular '15 (1)

I’ve been trying to take interesting pictures of this event for nearly 13 years, ever since I arrived here, because it fascinates me. In this one little town, a whole, strange little world marches by. This year was especially poignant for me, because I now know I’ve only got at most two more of these parades left to watch (got downsized/prioritized — yay, force reduction — so I’m gearing up to move on to some other adventure in about two years. *sigh*) Time to smell the local roses and wax nostalgic!

Spectacular '15 (11)

This year’s parade was not too terribly different from every other year, but it did include some unexpected gems. The Dutch, for example, appeared on the scene to remind the rest of us that we Ain’t Much, tulips in tow.

Spectacular '15 (12)

This is probably one of the last few times I’ll be able to get a picture like this one, and it makes me a little sad, because this particular international combo in this particular parade, not long behind the veterans — the lone Englishman and the one or two Japanese women (see last year’s post) — has always struck me as kind of amazing.

Spectacular '15 (21)

The horses are always magnificent, and this year I got a couple of pictures of the rope-trick rider that I really liked. I’m fond of the way he looks through the rope, like he’s making a gate to something fun — or, really, a bit like the magic mirror in Romper Room.

Spectacular '15 (26)

One of my favorite images of all, though, is this one, where the local high school’s class of 1995 cruised by and hosed the people closest to the street down with SuperSoakers. I didn’t think any of my shots of that float turned out (I wasn’t especially serious about getting them — it wasn’t the most interesting or odd thing to see), but then I noticed the boy in the shot, arms flung wide, trading demands for thrown candy for a demand to be watered. It just seemed like such a totally local kind of moment that I couldn’t pass it up.

I’m going to miss you, Star Spangled Spectacular. :)


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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