Whispering Pines Photography
Capturing Your Memories and Turning Your Moments Into Art
Red, White, and Blue ... there's nothing like a rural county/small towns Independence Day celebrations. The 4th of July was a busy day for us! We began the day getting some stuff completed outside (for everyone coming over later), then headed off the judge the Gruetli-Laager parade, then off to the Altamont parade. By that point we were ready for lunch (burgers and hot dogs, what else?) and to hang out with family before capping the night with Gruetli-Laager's fireworks display.
One thing I should mention about the parades here, it's not something that you have to apply to be in or try out for like big cities have. Here, if you want to be in the parade, you show up at the meeting place to begin the parade at the scheduled time and you can be in the parade. The 4th of July parades are huge community events (they usually kick off the day's activities at the parks) with people lining the roads. If you want a good spot, you better be there at least an hour ahead or you're going to have trouble finding a spot and be stuck in traffic.
Just a heads up, I'm not going to try to share all the photos from the day here. If you want to see more, please check out 4th of July Sights, Sounds, and People in my gallery.
Let me walk you through some of the highlights of the day in order, shall we?
The parade lines up and begins near the hub of the city's commercial district (i.e. at the Piggly Wiggly, Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Ace Hardware). As I mentioned, spectators are often there at the same time as if not before the parade participants.
My husband and I judged the parade participants for the prizes. As we walked down to where the parade began and then back to where we watched the parade from, I shot some scenes from the day.
I'm not used to people seeing me shoot a photo of them (with my street photography) and them actually posing (I try to capture the unposed moments usually), but this young lady spotted me a flashed me a big smile. She told me that she does that so that she makes sure she looks good in photos. I think that her and her friends definitely accomplished a patriotic look with their float!
Mr. James Brown with his car. My mother-in-law is the director of the Gruetli-Laager Senior Citizens Center and James is one of the seniors who goes up there, so I knew that I needed at least one shot for her to include in her senior activity reports.
Remember me talking about the traffic? Keep in mind that this is a rural county where there normally is NOT traffic.
Spectators from young to old were at the parade ... although the youngsters wore out pretty quickly.
Let the parade begin! This year's parade was much bigger due to it being an election year. That said, I mostly focused on the community participants.
Let's leave Gruetli-Laager and head over to Altamont now.
Altamont is the county seat and the location of the courthouse and jail. Whereas Gruetli-Laager has a much more rural feel, Altamont feels more like a small town/municipality. Their parade began 2 hours after the Gruetli-Laager parade, so many of the participants were in both parades.
This is the first year that we've made it to the Altamont parade. My husband's law office is located in Altamont, so we wanted to be part of this community event this year. As you'll see below, our two girls definitely enjoyed themselves!
Whether you're a supporter of this candidate for sheriff or not, I think most people agreed that this was a brilliant campaign strategy. He had balloons with his campaign symbol printed on them being handed out for free ... I mean, what kid is not going to want a balloon and what parent is going to tell their kid "no" when the balloons were free and parents needed to keep their kids entertained until the parade began? I heard several candidates for different offices commenting that they wish they had thought of that.
Everyone was trying to stay cool ... whether by getting cold drinks or staying in the shade.
The flag and service to our country is what the day is really about, isn't it? Both are such a symbol of and a reminder of what it took for the U.S. to be the land of the free.
We had lots of fun and the girls played some games. Cayleigh even went up and came down the big slide! Then it was off to home for our family gathering.
I pretty much put my camera down and enjoyed the time, but I did get a few shots in, mostly of the kids.
After an afternoon relaxing and hanging out, it was off to the fireworks at dark.
The fireworks are held at the Gruetli-Laager Volunteer Recreation Park. The park is right behind one of the local schools, so many people park at the school to watch.
When the fireworks were over, everyone began the trek out of there and home. I hope that you enjoyed this glimpse of the day! Again, please go to my gallery for more photos!