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Celebrating Independence Day

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Celebrating Independence Day

How area communities will celebrate in 2010

Deep booms roll through the mountains echoing, it seems, for days, as communities from Thompson Falls to Priest River, and Spirit Lake to Bonners Ferry, explode pyrotechnic peonies, palms, crossettes, kamuros, horsetails, and more into the night skies to celebrate, for the 235th time, the American nation’s independence from its former British masters.

That first Independence Day celebration—July 4, 1777—in Philadelphia was marked with fireworks but it wasn’t called Independence Day; that name didn’t come into use until 1791. And through the years, it wasn’t always celebrated on the fourth—in 1779, the fourth was on a Sunday, so celebrations took place on the fifth of July. That our Independence Day came to be held on the fourth at all was a surprise to early founders, as the Resolution of Independence was actually approved by Congress on July 2. But July 4 was the date shown on the Declaration of Independence, which followed the resolution, and the Fourth of July henceforth became synonymous with Independence in America. In 1991, however, Congress made the first Monday in July our official Independence Day holiday, so the Fourth of July these days may be celebrated on days other than the fourth. As it will be this year.

In North Idaho and western Montana, residents have a number of ways to celebrate and a lot of time to do it—because just as in 1779, the fourth falls on a Sunday this year, which means the official holiday—the day many people get off work—lands the following Monday.

Clark Fork kicks off the holiday this year on the fourth with the 9:30 am parade, followed by a day full of traditional Fourth activities. After the parade, various types of races are held on the grounds of the high school, along with lots of opportunities to buy raffle tickets, hamburgers and smokies. (Stop by the Booster Club’s food booth and say hi, as that’s where I’ll be working all morning.) At noon, the fun moves down to the ball field with a beer garden and a dizzying array of turtle races, watermelon eating contests, greased pole climbs, chainsaw and crosscut saw contests and more. And rounding off the night—one of the finest fireworks shows in the area.

Noxon’s holiday celebration will also take place on the fourth with most of the returning traditions that townsfolk and visitors enjoy. If you’re participating in the Fun Run, line up downtown by 7:30 and you’ll be bussed to the start. The parade theme is the 1910 fire, and it will start at noon. Dinner will be served at 5 pm and at some point in the late afternoon, live music will be provided by Whiskers. Along with tons of activities for kids will be all sorts of booths, horseshoe games and turtle races. This year, Noxon will NOT, however, be putting on a fireworks show, so head to your neighboring towns down the highway if you don’t want to miss the traditional light show.

Heron will also celebrate with its traditional parade on the fourth. Participants will begin lining up at 1 pm Mountain Time at the Heron Community Center resource building, and the parade should begin making its way through town by 1:30. This year’s parade theme is “Remembering the great fire of 1910” with Grand Marshal Dave Haggerty.

Sandpoint also provides a full day of Fourth festivities, though this year they’ll do it on Saturday, the third. And they’ve warned ahead of time that our troubled economy will translate into a shorter fireworks show—just 7 to 10 minutes, compared to the usual 30. After the morning’s Grand Parade and Kid’s Parade, head to City Beach for lots of activities designed for kids, including those who reside in all of us.

In Bonners Ferry, “Praise and Salute” takes place on both the third and the fourth at the Boundary County Fairgrounds. On the third, it’s the Leg Shakin’ and Fire Dance, with chili feed, at 6 pm. On the fourth there’s a full slate of activities scheduled for the fairground, followed by fireworks at dusk. And if you’re still in the mood for fun, you won’t want to miss the annual Lawn Mower Races, held at the Fairgrounds on Monday, July 5 at 6 pm.

If all you’re looking for is fireworks you can visit Priest River (Bonner Park West), Priest Lake (Hills Resort), or Hope (anywhere along the lake) in addition to the fireworks at Sandpoint, Clark Fork and Bonners Ferry. All fireworks shows begin at dusk.

Remember... the times listed for all Idaho events are Pacific Time while all Montana Events are Mountain Time. Dusk, of course, is dusk wherever you happen to be.


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Landon Otis

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4th of July

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