Fourth parade draws crowds
By Thomas Dewell, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: July 5, 2012
Deb Christman kneeled on the north side of Glenwood Street on Wednesday, keeping within arm’s reach of her 2-year-old grandson as a cement truck decorated with red, white and blue drove past.
Christman, of Wilson, guessed she was enjoying her 28th Fourth of July parade in Jackson, but she knew grandson Luke Nagel was enjoying his third.
The little boy wore the fruits of his labor, shiny plastic necklaces, and chewed on candy thrown from a passing float. As his mom, Kate Christman, noted, he didn’t need to peel the wrapper to enjoy it.
Grandma was just happy to be with her family in Jackson on a hot day watching the annual spectacle of floats, old Chevys, horses and rodeo royalty parade down tree-lined streets.
“It’s the best,” Deb Christman said. “It’s fun watching all these little kids who are dressed up and into the parade.”
The annual Howdy Pardners Fourth of July Parade swelled to 79 entrants this year, drawing eight political entries ahead of the Aug. 21 Primary Election. Crowds along Glenwood Street and Broadway stood six deep at times, watching entries from organizations such as Heart 6 Ranch, Jackson Hole Baptist Church, Teton Board of Realtors and Jackson Hole Health & Fitness Zumba.
Judges Akop Manoukian, Andria Clancy and Mike Sillman, who was just named Rotarian of the Year, selected the 3 Creek Ranch float that resembled Washington crossing the Delaware River, as the top parade entry.
Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, which entered rousing bagpipers marching with drummers and a color guard, placed second. Jackson Hole Playhouse, in character as cowboys, Indians and the shootout gang, took third.
The parade marched after the early morning pancake breakfast and before Music in the Hole. The evening was slated to include a rodeo, but high fire danger forced authorities to call off fireworks in town and Teton Village.
The parade proved to be a big draw during a hot and sunny day.
“We hope it was a boost in the middle of the week,” said Maureen Murphy, director of special events for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber-organized parade drew a range of people to Jackson streets.
Valley resident Sean Batenhorst, 15, has been coming to the parade as long as he’s been alive. This year he enjoyed the Burmese mountain dogs as well as the float entered by the children’s museum organizers.
The parade would have to serve as his favorite event of the day. Normally, fireworks highlight his Independence Day celebrations.
Batenhorst was “bummed” the pyrotechnic displays wouldn’t light up the night, but he understood why they had to be cancelled.
Daniel Luna carried his 5-month-old daughter, Yaretzi, in a baby backpack to the parade. Luna, who came to Jackson from Acapulco, Mexico, saw Jackson’s political leader Mark Barron drive by.
“Oh, there’s the mayor,” he said to his friends.
“I think it’s great, totally different from where I’m from,” Luna said of the event.
He would have preferred evening fireworks, but would make the best of the rest of the day by going rafting.
“It’s kind of disappointing,” Luna said of missing the explosive finale.
The lack of fireworks didn’t dampen the community spirit that pervaded downtown.
Dr. Dominic Wilks, a six-year Jackson resident, said the annual Fourth of July events in Jackson Hole bring together the county and the region.
“It’s down to earth,” Wilks said. “Everyone participates, everyone’s invited.”
Wilks’ grandchildren joined the Jackson Hole Stingrays parade entry. Wilks waited in his appointed place for the swimmers to pass.
They showered grandpa with water from their squirt guns.
“I come every Fourth of July because I really like it,” Wilks said.