Yesterday was the Fourth of July, which means only one thing here: the Mendocino parade. I am aware that in Britain it is Thanksgiving and I believe there is also a national American holiday associated with half naked girls walking down the street, political floats, and drinking beer at Friendship Park. But here, 4 July means it’s parade time.

The Mendocino parade is my all time number one favourite parade up here. I have so many great pictures I may have to split this up into two days, but here’s a start of the awesomeness that was on display yesterday. One of my coworkers moved here last year, after the parade had been held, and therefore had never seen it before, so we took a long lunch and dragged her to the parade. I argued that you can’t really understand life on the coast if you haven’t been to the parade.

bikini clad lady and friend

I went to school with both of these individuals (which reminds me–guys, if for some reason you don’t want your fine bodies posted on the internet, please email me. Or call. Whatever. You know how to find me.) One of them was actually my next door neighbor from wee childhood up until I left for college. They were representing the Rascal Ranch in fine style.

parade float covered in flowers

There were a lot of gardening/local agriculture floats this year, but this was by far the most impressive, bedecked in flowers with lovely ladies in garlands. And, of course, this being Mendocino County, a “Say no to GMO” sign.

girl on unicycle

Sadly, I got to the parade too late to catch the Flynn Creek Circus float, which is usually awesome. This unicycle rider helped make up for some of the pain.

truck full of crosses

This float contained the crosses which used to sit at the base of Albion ridge before CalTrans removed them. The sides of the float had a list of American dead from the Iraq war. Usually loud cheering accompanies the political floats–a somber silence followed this one.

imagine a world without torture

Another political entry.

fireman on a tractor smoking a cigar

This was a man with clear ideas about how a parade should be enjoyed. He moseyed along looking intensely at peace.

truck of boys drinking beer

Of course, no local event would be complete without a truck of beer drinking gentlemen.

The Mendocino parade, I think you can agree, dear readers, would be difficult to rival in excellence.