North Dakota You’re A Firework

IMG_8756Saturday 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….


So great.

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.

IMG_8776I dare say this was Benjamin’s favorite part. I didn’t know I was raising such a dancer but he marched on over to these ladies and jigged his little heart out, dancing queen style.

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.

IMG_8770Thank you, Whited and Arnold family. Thank you for including us in your beautiful tribute.

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.

IMG_8720What 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.






13 thoughts on “North Dakota You’re A Firework

  1. Instead of single guys with booze and extra money, most of those amazing fireworks were set off by fun loving families. Tobacco Gardens is a great place to camp with great people who know how to celebrate the 4th of July. A lot of people bring fireworks and together we all put on a great show!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for read tobacco gardens camper! Ok, ok maybe I added that part about the oil guys and booze for dramas sake😉. It really was a fantastic, and unexpected show. We’ll definitely be back next year, let’s meet up!


  2. Thanks for the great local review. As a lifelong Arnegardian I love our small town pride and comraderie. Glad you enjoyed it (I was at a family reunion out of state).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have only missed maybe 2 or 3 of Arnegards 4th of July celebrations. I love that i can raise my kids so close that they too can live the traditions of where mommy grew up! Glad your son had fun and hope you guys come back again. They do hamburgers in the park there every Friday evening 6-8 throughout the summer. They are delicious and it is a nice relaxing evening get away

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Betsy, I am sorry you felt scared and uncomfortable regarding the fireworks at Tobacco Gardens. We at TG work very hard to provide a safe and family environment for everyone who comes for day or night camping. We monitored our fireworks and they were set off by sober adults. It would be sad to get a black eye for something done in the private section that we have no control over. TG is a great place, please accept my apologies for stupid people.

    Liked by 1 person

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