Saturday morning we wanted to do the 4th of July right. We wanted small town, home grown North Dakota patriotism. A quick ask-around and we knew we needed to be in Arnegard. I was surprised to see my usually anti-party husband loading the car with a shade and chairs and a cooler full of drinks, ready for many hours of celebrating. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little worried that Arnegardmight disappoint and shut that rare excitement right down. He had high hopes though and I was going with it.
First on the docket: A parade, Arnegard style!
When it started with these vets leading the parade I knew we had picked the right Independence Day party.
The Arnegard parade was all about the locals showing off their sweet rides. Oh, and candy.
So. Much. Candy.
None of this, candy-less parade stuff here, bags and bags were thrown in the crowd. After the parade was done there was still candy all over the road! Benjamin was in heaven.
And then there were these guys……
and these dogs….
I’m a girl who loves a theme, and one of my favorite parts of the 4th is seeing everyone in coordinating colors. Painting their faces, wearing sparklers, and sporting anything red, white and blue from their closets. This year I chose to show my patriotism via aviators, painted red nails, and a denim jumper (are we calling it chambray now?).
Can you tell this girl is proud to be an American??
Benj showed his patriotism through his dance moves but we’ll get to that later.
The set up in Arnegard was perfect. Adorable and homey, inviting and fun.
Bouncy houses, kids games, the works. All of it free.
There were booths with plenty to buy, to wear or eat.
And I chatted with locals who have been coming to this event for years.
Meanwhile, two talented ladies sang and sang for several hours in the middle of the festivities.
I could hardly pull him away!
The whole event was in honor of a woman near and dear to this community, Sherry Arnold, who was killed 3 years ago in a near-by town. Those who loved her wished to use this special day to honor her. Being new to the region I was not familiar with her story but soon realized what an amazing and long reaching human being Sherry was. A school teacher and a mother, her large family shared memories of her and stood in solidarity together.
I was so touched by the love of this family. They donated funds to feed the whole crowd lunch, they sat together and spoke of her together. So much love and loss here in this tiny corner of our country.
We were also treated to a flag ceremony.
Before we totally succumbed to heat exhaustion we managed to watch the beginning of the tractor pull. The tractor pull is not an event where I come from. The suburbs of Seattle have no tractors in sight and nothing that needs pulling so I was curious to see what it might entail.
There is a weight on a cart behind the tractor, as you pedal the weight gets harder and harder to pull, and it moves indicating some kind of measurement which identifies the winner somehow. That, by the way, is the official definition hehe.
I do not know how these kids pulled that kind of energy out in that heat!
After that event we needed a long nap and lots of water. We went home, replenished and slept and before long we were in the car headed out for a night time party at Tobacco Gardens. There is no official firework show out there so I was a little hesitant, worried I would not get sufficient 4th of July fireworks. I was assured that I wouldn’t be disappointed so out we went.
We met up with people from our church, it was casual and relaxed and I loved sitting by the lake. Sitting around chatting with friends and meeting new people is just about my favorite past time in the world, I couldn’t have been happier.
As it was getting dark everyone lined up their chairs to the lake and I followed suit.
What followed cannot be shown in pictures, or even videos. What ensued was a near death, thrilling experience. I hadn’t done the math but, lots of single men with tons of extra cash plus booze and a one week ban on fireworks lifted for the holiday equals a 360 degree firework show. I have never been that close to being on fire in my life. From all sides, truck loads of fireworks shot up in the sky, across the lake, into the trees exploding in color and sound. It sort of felt like I was in a patriotic kaleidoscopic warzone. I was overwhelmed and laughing hysterically while trying to add up the cost of what was burned up into the sky. If each firework averages around $10 times a kabillion fireworks……. So entertaining and hilarious and scary. 2 hours later, when the show was still going pretty strong we decided to head back.
Thank you, North Dakota, for your heart and your spirit. I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the birth of our great nation with you.
God Bless America.