Paul Bunyan Days

I have just returned from the annual Paul Bunyan Days parade, and the only two pictures which came out halfway decent on my cellphone were of fire trucks:

lime green fort bragg fire truck

The loss of my camera is particularly painful today since there were some truly spectacular entries in the parade, like a logging truck bedecked in flowers, a horde of rabid doctors, and the tank man. The Marching Lumberjacks were also present in force, as was the Shriners Oriental Band. And the Festa parade is coming up, too, with the lighted truck parade following in a few months. Oh, how I long for a camera again.

It’s interesting for me to contrast the Mendocino and Fort Bragg parades. This parade is all about showing off shiny trucks and ATVs, including a wonderful float with a man in a deer-bedecked ATV with a sign that said “Meat’s What’s for Dinner!” The fire trucks are bright, shiny, and loud, and all of the lumber companies send at least one truck loaded with logs, while the building supply companies and contractors find their biggest, shiniest toys to show off. The Coast Guard brought their new search and rescue boat, the hospital brought an ambulance, and so forth. It makes you wonder about what would happen if there was some sort of emergency.

The hippies were all in the middle, sandwiched between some logging trucks. There was a no offshore oil drilling group, a support universal healthcare group, and an Obama for President coalition with, I shit you now, red white and blue Toyota Priuses. There were also Mexican trick riders, about eight football teams, beauty queens, and some cheerleaders. We were speculating on why it is that the middle and elementary school cheerleaders had the classic flippy cheerleading skirts, while the high school girls were in tight, modest skirts. Interesting, say I.

Oh, and fire trucks.

elk fire truck in the paul bunyan days parade

Lots of fire trucks. The theme of the parade was “local heroes,” so people were really milking that. It was gratifying to see people applauding and whistling when the fire trucks and emts went by, while a stony silence greeted the military recruiter and the Baptists. I ended up in a flock of viewers who were almost as cynical as I was, and we had a fun time mocking the truly amazing floats and individuals which make parades so wonderful to attend.

The whole parade took around an hour and a half, and it was awesome. I do love me a parade, especially one that finishes with the Marching Lumberjacks. Afterwards I ran into my father, along with an assortment of other people, and we stood in front of town hall and talked while the parade and the viewers slowly dissipated, leaving Main Street once again empty. In a few hours, the cops will round up the last of the no parking signs and things will return entirely to normal.

Oddly enough for a Labour Day parade, I saw no mentions of labor rights and equality. Fascinating, that.