Lined up along the curb to watch the parade

Lined up along the curb to watch the parade

It’s a big exciting day in the county.  Time for the Lumberjack Days Parade in Baraga.  Barry had to take pictures for the local newspaper, so I tagged along.  I usually tag along. 

There’s often old friends with whom to chat, sometimes people you haven’t seen for ten years.  There’s fire engines screaming and children covering their ears, hot sun beating down on the sidewalks, free popcorn, and pink and blue cotton candy for sale.

In front of the American Legion, a crowd gathers to drink beer and enjoy a cook-out.  The smells are so enticing.  It’s the Upper Peninsula’s version of Norman Rockwell Americana.  Baraga’s population, as of the 2000 census, is 1,285.  The larger Baraga County encompasses about 8,500 folks.

A horse's nose

A horse's nose

Before the parade starts Barry needs to get pictures of the line-up.  Close-ups of the people on floats.  Queen candidate shots.  Usually I stand around and feel somewhat awkward, but today there was a mission.  The blog.  What pictures to take?

“I want a picture of a horse’s nose,” I announced to Barry.  He probably rolled his eyes but politely replied, “There’s sure to be horses around!”  Immediately following that statement, a horse appeared.  It’s owner was feeding it hay.  The horse’s name is Misty. 

The Little Mermaid on her float

The Little Mermaid on her float

The theme of this year’s parade was “Movies, Movies, Movies…the Baraga County Oscars”.  At least a half dozen movie-themed floats laden with dressed-up characters passed by.  Isn’t the Little Mermaid cute?

Our friend, John, insisted I take a picture of the red fancy fire trucks.  He said, “The blog readers will want to see pictures of fire trucks!”  He nudged me out in front as the first engines rolled by.  Unfortunately, they all came out blurry.  Sorry. 

American Legion Honor Guard

American Legion Honor Guard

Are we down far enough in the blog that I can complain a little bit?  The parade was lovely.  But I got a tad bit grouchy.  Shhh, you’re not suppose to say that on the 4th of July. 

Here was the problem:  It’s relatively easy to take photos out in nature.  You peer quietly into the core of a wildflower or into the eyes of a dog or at a seaweed dangling precociously over a sand bank. 

In a crowd of screaming, laughing, jostling, happy parade-goers it’s another story.  I’m way too shy about asking up-front, “Can I take your picture?” like Barry does.  He’s doing it for the newspaper, and has done it for three decades.  So I had to sneak photos.  Or indirectly attempt to find the perfect in-focus shot.  It was so challenging. 

Little girl with arms wide open for candy.  "More, more!"

Little girl with arms wide open for candy. "More, more!"

You know how sometimes you’re in a big crowd of people and everything flows beautifully and you feel like you fit in?  And how other times you feel maybe a bit more shy or quiet or nervous or reclusive?  Today was one of those days.

I don’t think anyone else in all of Baraga was feeling shy or quiet. 

A member of the Baraga County Gymnastic Club flips backwards into a tumbling routine

A member of the Baraga County Gymnastic Club flips backwards into a tumbling routine

Fireworks start about 10:30.  We’re debating whether to drive all the way back into town for the spectacular light show over the bay.  Should we stay home or should we go?  Stay tuned tomorrow to find out!

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