We celebrated the fourth of July in the geographic center of the United States, Belle Fourche, South Dakota. It was beyond American, hundreds of people lined up and down the streets wearing red, white and blue and drinking coffee or beer at 10am.
This was our second year going to the Belle Fourche parade and I think we will be there for years to come.
Growing up in the nineties my family, immediate and extended, all traveled down to an itty bitty town in Iowa named Battle Creek. This is where my grandmother was from and where my great grandmother still lived. We would camp in my Great Grandma Wonder’s back yard (as well as the rest of the family, think 2 campers and a few tents in a city home’s backyard) and head down to the parade. The parade involved pretty much everyone from the surrounding towns, firetrucks and shriners, they would throw tootsie-rolls and dumdums and we would jump and run after every piece of candy that flew past us. After the parade the kids would walk over to the baseball fields where we would pay a small fee and pick out our frogs for the frog jumping contest, my frog never won, this would be followed by lunch back at the house, playing at the schools play ground (the school had a slide for a fire escape which was fascinating for me) and sparklers, snakes and bottle rockets back at the house until sundown. At sundown we went to park our butts in the grass and watch the fireworks, one year they all caught on fire, the next year (my last there) they had a kid play the national anthem on his electric guitar. Even at 12 years old I felt that was weird.
Moving to Arizona the “America” feel of Independence Day was totally lost. Sure there were fireworks and festivals but it didn’t feel as genuine as it did commercial.Bringing my boys back to South Dakota has opened up all these innocent forms of childhood memories to form and thankfully The Fourth is one of them.
After all that reminiscing… The Belle parade is just lined with people
Tips for next year:
Take an umbrella, rain or sun we will need it.
Wear athletic clothing in order to ensure my kids get the best candy (ok I want the candy too).
Take photos of all the “mayors” cars, because all they said was mayor, never a city, so as far as I know Belle has at least 5 mayors.
Take water guns for Harper to shoot at the “wet” floats, plus it’s just good entertainment.