Midnight Voyageur Journal: 4th of July Parade

 

July 4, 2016

In the early morning of the 4th of July, I hauled my camera and running shoes to a rural community named Mineral Point, about an hour’s drive west of where I live.  Mineral Point offered a day of festivities for the celebration of Independence Day. Events started with a “fun run” up and down the hills of the city, followed by a parade through the historic downtown, and then afternoon soft-ball games. Finally, to conclude the day,  a “steak feed” was held to make sure no one went home hungry. While I took no selfies during the fun run, I photographed the parade and the community to capture the feel of the day.

Mineral Point is one of the oldest cities in Wisconsin, settled in 1827 by Cornish immigrants who mined the  lead and zinc in the hills along Brewery Creek. The historic cream-colored sand stone buildings in the town center attest to the city’s prosperous past.  Today, however, this city is not much more than a village, with about 2500 residents. For the 4th of July, many more people from surrounding communities joined these residents, filling the city streets and parks.

Mineral Point’s main street is only a few blocks long so space on the curb for parade watching came at a premium. By mid-morning, people had started to stake out their space by parking camp chairs (often occupied by the grandparents,) together with coolers.  By late morning, when the parade started, thousands of people lined the street, all in a festive mood. Rain threaten to spoil the day but fortunately, it just remained overcast.

When I think of parades, fancy floats and extravagent costumed revelers come to mind. But Mineral Point’s parade had no floats and presented nothing fanciful or pretty. But it offered marching bands, patriotic displays of the flag, clowns and many Knights of Columbus and Legionnaires marching with guns. And fire trucks and ambulances from all the surrounding towns. The crowd watching loved it all and had great fun.

In my photography, I noticed and tried to capture the seriousness and intensity of the participants as they march along, contrasted with the jubilance of the observers.

 

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