Mendocino Fourth of July Parade 2010

Long term readers know that the Fourth of July marks one of the highlights of my year. I eagerly anticipate it every year, and wake up in a froth of excitement on the day of to carefully organise my supplies and prepare myself for the two events that occur on this day every year, without fail: The Mendocino Fourth of July Parade and my annual sunburn.

Mendo’s parade has acquired a rather mythological status. Not for us the usual array of marching bands, politicians in convertibles, and fire trucks. Oh, we have all of those things, to be sure. But we also have naked women draped in seaweed gyrating on flatbed trucks, fisticuffs between parade participants, random farm animals, cavalcades of peace marchers, military recruiters greeted with stony silence, and other assorted characters.

The parade is the event of the year. Everyone, and I mean everyone, ventures out for the parade. There are people that I only see once a year, on the Fourth. I perch in the back of someone’s pickup truck and watch the parade go by, and people of all sorts drift past and we connect. The official high school reunion is usually held on the weekend of the Fourth, but everyone’s found in Dick’s Place, a seedy bar with an unbeatable view, the night of the parade, and that’s the real reunion. It is the one day a year that I always take off, without fail.

People view the parade from couches strapped on their roof racks:

Three men seated on a couch strapped to the top of a truck.

We (note: I am not in this picture) chose to congregate around and in a friend’s truck to survey the sights:

A bunch of grinning people sitting and standing in the bed of a pickup.

Following is a selection of some photos from this year’s parade, to provide a sort of cross-section of the sights. I took over 300 pictures at the parade, and uploaded about half of those. If you’re interested in seeing more, check out my Mendocino Fourth of July Parade 2010 set on Flickr.

A bunch of women wearing seaweed bikinis and dancing.

I wasn’t kidding about that ‘women wrapped in seaweed’ thing.

A banner reading 'choose peace' leaning against the tailgate of a truck.

I ran into Mendo Parents for Peace while I was meandering my way to my parade viewing spot. They were organising their signs and floral displays.

The Mendocino County Democrats, marching in blue shirts except for one woman dressed as Lady Liberty.

It is possible that our Democrats are not like your Democrats.

People doing yoga on the back of a flatbed truck.

Hey, why not?

A powerchair user carrying a sign in support of US Senator Barbara Boxer.

A Boxer supporter wheeling with the Democrats. (Don’t worry, Babs, we won’t let Fiorina win!)

A farmer walking two small goats down the middle of the street.

This guy comes every year. Usually he has a duck too.

A man dressed as Jesus, carrying a cross and being flogged down the road by a Roman.

Your eyes do not deceive you.

Two women seated on a vintage hearse painted with flames.

This hearse is beautiful. The owner cares for it meticulously and it is just gorgeous up close.

Musicians seated on the back of a flatboard truck.

My friend is in the band.

A man in drag carrying a promotional banner for La Cage Aux Folles.

One of the local theatre companies is doing a production of La Cage Aux Folles, evidently.

A couple dressed as a bride and groom standing under an arch covered in flowers on the back of a truck

The MacCallum House always has the best floats.