Brian Wallace, Juneau EmpireThe parade of cars downtown starts early in the evening; by 8 p.m. That's because everyone has their favorite spot to sit and watch the fireworks and they do anything to claim their post. We have our fireworks at midnight on July 3. This is because it's not dark enough any earlier and if we had them on the 4th, it would be past every one's bedtime.
They fire the works off from a barge in the middle of the Channel (Gastineau Channel) and people line up wherever there's a view to watch. Boats anchor up in the Channel. People sit on top of buildings and climb the highest mountains. They park in the meridian of the highway, with their coolers of survival food (and beer), camp stools, boom boxes, and blankets. It's the biggest party of the year!
Then, on the 4th, is the parade. Again, the entire town shows up for the parade at 11:00. Again, with their camp stools and coolers of survival food. Heaven forbid that we should go hungry! The firetrucks are the first in line, tossing salt water taffy to all the kids, and adults :) It's a mad dash to see who can get to the candy first! Our floats aren't covered with carnations and other gorgeous flowers but crepe paper, spruce tree boughs, and other foreign objects.
Everyone with a cause is allowed to join the parade.... We have a lot of people marching--the Philippinos and Hawaiians in their garb and performing their national dance. Everyone with an antique car joins in. Marching bands. The best part of our 4th of July parade is.... it's always sunny! This is one thing you can pretty much count on every year.
My kids are grown and there's no longer that need to join in the festivities. So we've found other things to do over the 4th, but it's a little sad. I do miss the people, all 30,000 of them! I almost miss the parade of cars, the waiting to get somewhere. Being up past my bedtime. Maybe next year.