TWISP — You don’t have to sign up to be in Twisp’s Fourth of July parade.
Just show up an hour before parade time, and they’ll put you in the lineup.
Of course, you might want to bring along something patriotic. An Uncle Sam hat, maybe. Or some of those crazy sunglasses with eyepieces shaped like stars.
But if you forget, someone will hand you a small American flag to wave, along with a cup of coffee.
Held for decades, this parade always features cars and trucks decorated in red-white-and-blue tinsel, kids on bikes with American flags taped to the handlebars, and people on horses waving to the people lining all five blocks of Glover Street. The town’s fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and public works truck are all in the lineup, too.
There was even a float in this year’s parade. Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster brought one last year, too, said parade organizer Vicki Hallowell. Most years, there aren’t any.
Last year, she had over 50 entries. She knows because she made up 50 registration forms, and ran out. July 4 was on a Wednesday, so she figured turnout would be low. “It was the biggest we ever had,” she said.
This year was about the same, she said.
At the TwispWorks parking lot where everyone gathered to line up, kids in Twisp’s Pipestone School of Music were standing in the grass, warming up their violins. They were the only “band” in the parade. They didn’t march, but rode on a flatbed trailer, sitting on hay bales next to American flags.
Nearby, Vernon and Mary Ann Bame decorated their Volkswagen Beetle with a couple of friends, Donna Martin and Launa Ownby.
The white VW had three Ford decals and was covered in red-white-and-blue. “We’re trying to make it an American car,” Martin explained. “Vernon is so patriotic. And he’s always been a Ford man. So I have given him a rash of you-know-what,” she said. About owning not one, but two VWs.” There was no way he was ever going to own a foreign car.”
Renee Szenasi was walking her dog, Stella, before the parade.
Both were dressed to the max in patriotic stars and stripes.
“Her birthday is on July 6, and mine’s today,” Szenasi said, adding, “We were going to just come and watch, but I decided, heck, we should just be in it!”
On the other side of the parking lot, Thor Arntsen helped his daughter, Lily, decorate her bicycle, and his toolbox. “We did this for the first time last year, and Lily just wants to do it all the time, now,” he said, adding, “You don’t get to do this in any town.”
Hallowell said she organizes the lineup so kids on bikes aren’t next to loud vehicles, or people on horseback — just to prevent any incidents. There aren’t exactly categories, but she groups things together. Then, she sprinkles the kids throughout.
“If they’re out of line, I don’t care. Nobody’s going to know but me,” she added.
When the parade got going, people clapped as the entries went by. Kids stood ready to run out in the street when the candy-throwing started. Some left with a bag-full rivaling Halloween night.
The entries ranged from bongo drummers with modern dancers to a flatbed decorated with “Don’t tread on me” flags, and someone handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution.
The group of fire trucks came at the end of the parade, including one spraying water out the front.
Kids and adults ran into the street to cool off before heading to the park four blocks away, where Methow Arts Alliance held its 26th Arts in the Park.
Hallowell said she a lot of people tell her how much they enjoy the parade, even if it’s short, and doesn’t have
“I had one lady tell me, ‘I just love the Twisp parade. I get tears in my eyes every time I see it.’”
Of course, she also hears from those with ideas on how to make it better.
“Somebody suggested a PA system, to announce who’s who. But that requires a lot of organizing,” she said. “I think everybody likes the casualness of it.”