Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Celebrating America!

It’s always a little weird celebrating the 4th of July outside of the US – you just don’t get that same feeling of celebration, nostalgia and country pride. The 4th for me is always a small town celebration in La Selva Beach with family and friends. The festivities start bright and early with the Pet Parade in the park where locals bring their prized pooches and other rare species (turtles and snakes have been known to make an appearance) to be evaluated by a panel of judges who give every animal a 1st place ribbon for their special attributes. My dog (brother) George always gets a ribbon for something a little different – sometimes it’s best dribbling skills with his plastic basketball or sometimes best smile with his crooked teeth and sideways tongue. It’s always a sight to see the kids and adults so proud up there with their pets. Next in the festivities line-up comes the big parade, where kids line up on our street to take part with their red, white and blue decorated bikes and painted faces all ready to stroll down Playa Boulevard (the main palm tree lined street in town). There’s always a band that kicks things off and rides down in front of the bikes, strollers, wagons and miniature cars (animals take part too...the past few years have seen llamas among other pets). Along with the Grand Marshall (someone in town who gets nominated to lead the parade), there’s always the special groups of people in town – from the Twins Club to the Baton Twirlers.

My absolute favourite spectacle in the parade is the librarians and their carts – it gets me every time. The local librarians all dress up in their uniforms and take their little red book carts and do a coordinated routine – it’s hard to explain, you really have to see it in person (my husband, Jim was literally shocked the first time he saw it). Everyone lines the street and cheers as the parade goes by. After it ends, everyone heads over to the park for the games, which vary from sack races to the diaper derby (yes, parents send their little babies crawling down the lawn to earn a prize!). It’s so fun mingling with people in our small town and eating the yummy baked goods that people prepare and sell on the picnic tables. The rest of the day is all about BBQs, the beach and the infamous sand castle contest. And if it’s not foggy, we can see the big fireworks show down the coast – or we often get amateur fireworks on our own little beach.

This year we obviously won’t have this experience, but we’ll toast America in our own special way – maybe with some BBQ and beers or something equally red, white and blue. I love our incredible country and am so proud of where I come from! Happy 4th everyone, I hope you have an amazing celebration!

[Image via grace (ful things)]

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