Fourth of July in northern Wisconsin

You have to be agile to celebrate the Fourth of July in Northern Wisconsin, able to dodge water balloons and flying cheese sticks and willing to scramble out of the way when children dive for all the candy and beachballs tossed their way.

We know this because we were lucky enough to attend two Fourth of July Parades yesterday, one in Bonduel and the other Gillett, with two nice cool-off dips in the Oconto River after and in between.

God Bless America.

I saw a man stand respectfully at attention, hand over heart, as members of the U.S. military passed by during the 11 a.m. Bonduel parade. Then I saw the same man gleefully scooping up candy, yanking his fist up and down to encourage truck drivers to blast their horns, and daring the water gun-toting float riders to blast him.

They did.

Independence Day in God’s Country is a raucous good time.

“Is that?” I asked my husband Vince as we watched a deer-antler decorated float pass by in Gillett. “Is that venison sausage?”

It was.

It takes some skill to hurl a full-sized package of sausage sticks from a moving float and it takes even more to bare-hand catch it. They’ve got game up here.

They’ve also got a contagious joy, a work-hard, play-hard attitude and a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to do both. Many of the participating tractors chugged right from the parade route back to the fields that surround it, same with all the emergency response vehicles and, I imagine, many of the parade-goers.

Both cities continued their celebration long into the night with impressive fireworks displays.

How wonderful to live in a country that celebrates its birthday with such unabashed joy!

Happy birthday, America. May this year be one of your best.

The Primal Eats float in Gillett tossed full-sized packages of sausage sticks off their float, an impressive feat.
Brown Star Farms celebrated 135 years of farming by pelting parade goers with buckets of candy in Gillett. All in good fun, though, and everyone left with both eyeballs and all their digits intact and tons of candy.
This group of military veterans carried the colors proudly on a really hot day in Gillett…
…just like they did a few hours earlier on an equally hot morning in Bonduel. Very impressive.
This little guy might be the youngest accordion player I’ve ever seen. He played with gusto on a float during the Bonduel parade.
Loved this little red-haired girl waving from veteran owned and operated truck in the Bonduel parade.
These guys had the right idea. They got to ride in a pool on a float, and fire water pistols at people along the route. Winner winner chicken dinner. And, speaking of chickens…
This little trouper rode the whole route in this very hot chicken costume, promoting…
…chicken poop Bingo. We were intrigued but we were also toasty, and old. So, we opted for a relaxing river float instead.
There were lots of great tractors in both parades but I especially liked this home built model.
Even the horses got all dolled up for the occasion.
I loved the enthusiasm of this trombone player from the Badger band. On Wisconsin!
If there’s another part of the world that hands out delicious, ice-cold milk cartons on their Fourth of July parade routes, I’d love to hear about them. In the meantime, I’m thinking Wisconsin hosts the best parades in all the land.
He dared them to fire away, so they did.
Celebrate Bonduel and this vast, beautiful, confounding, earnest, striving, country of ours. God Bless America!

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