Small-town America 4th of July Parade complete with cotton candy, dogs & babies

Queen Candidates, Baraga Lumberjack Parade

Barry has to cover the Baraga Lumberjack Parade every year for his job as editor of the L’Anse Sentinel.

Almost every year I tag along.  It’s our date, you know.

Little guy. His dad went overseas to Afghanistan in June.

The last two–or three–years I have eagerly brought camera and taken pictures for the blog. 

This year I said, “Awww, Barry, I dunno.  I just might tag along and not take pics this year.”

Dog, Dad, Baby

“That’s OK,” said Barry.

“OK, maybe I’ll just bring the camera–just in case something seems to stand out,” I agreed.

Oh no! Those fire engines are SO loud!

So off we went.  We stopped first, briefly, for an iced coffee from Java By the Bay, our new coffee shop in L’Anse owned by my friend, Nikki and her husband, Bob.  Mmm, iced coffee with a dash of hazelnut.  Heaven!

Listen to those fire engines scream!

We parked ‘way down by the Armory where the Queen Candidates and firetrucks and floats waited for the parade to begin.  We walked nearly a half mile toward the American Legion.  We said hello to folks as we passed; “Hello, how ya doin’?  Sure is a nice day!  A little hot, though…”

The Pelkie Fire Dept. (Awww, cute! We used to live really near Pelkie a long time ago.)

We found a piece of shade to linger while waiting for the parade to start.  I started snappin’ pictures of little kids, babies, cotton candy, anything that looked interesting.

Some of the parade watchers.

And snapped more pictures.

Cotton candy, anyone?

And more pictures.

Baby sleeps...oblivious...

“What are you doing, taking pictures?” asked an acquaintance, who only knows me as wife-of-the-Sentinel-editor. “Just for fun?”

“Yes,” I said.  “Just for fun.”

(No inclination anymore to explain about blogging and what it is.)

Flag waver

So many people in the 4th of July spirit.  So many people having fun, enjoying the parade, talking with their friends and neighbors and petting stray dogs.

Another wee parade-goer

So many babies.  So many of their mamas and daddies the age of our kids…

Hey--there we are! Spotted as a reflection in the ambulance window.

It was a fun afternoon.  Even though I really didn’t want to go–sorry, to say–it was an afternoon of Americana and Norman Rockwell scenes which would touch the hardest of hearts.

Man, dog.

Human flag

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."

We saw so many old friends and acquaintances.  So much local spirit.  So much pride in our country.

The mom of this baby was Kiah's best friend in 7th grade. Isn't she adorable?

And finally–as we were trekking back to the car–we saw Jen and Grandma Cindy and the babies.  Back when our daughter, Kiah, was in junior high, she and Jen were fast friends.  The best of buddies.  And now Jen has two small daughters of her own, and aren’t they adorable?

Hi Jen and Cindy and babies. It's so good to see you!

My heart felt full.  It was a good day.

Nap well, sleepy Kenzie. I hope you liked the parade!

Happy 4th of July to all! 

P.S.  125 pictures of the parade…yikes!…guess I got carried away…so much for not taking any pictures this year!  smile…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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33 Responses to Small-town America 4th of July Parade complete with cotton candy, dogs & babies

  1. Susan D says:

    Oh goodness, what wonderful photos! You captured the very heart of America, Kathy. Just wonderful. Nice to see some familiar faces in the mix, too, including the fun one of you and Barry in the ambulance mirror. I can’t possibly pick a favorite or three in this collection. Thank you for taking us to the parade and festivities. I thought about walking down the hill, and just wasn’t “feeling” it. Through you, I got to experience it in the comfort of my digs. Happy 4th of July Weekend to you!

  2. Brenda Hardie says:

    Happy 4th of July Kathy! Thank you for sharing this slice of Americana…the pictures capture a glimpse of the simply joys of small town life…it looks perfect to me. The babies are adorable…the folks with the dogs are precious…the kids look like kids…not little versions of grown ups…everyone looks like they’re enjoying the festivities. And wow…thanks for the clever view of you in the mirror! 🙂 Enjoy the holiday Kathy and thanks for sharing your pictures!

  3. Nice! FLD Gus and I are marching in the Lion’s Club parade in the little town of Rose City tomorrow. Hope I get half as many good pictures as you’ve captured today! Happy 4th!

  4. Dawn says:

    Your photos are truly art. Love the boy with cotten candy and all the other children…and the human flag…and the man and dog….

  5. Dawn says:

    You know, generally people like to get pictures of themselves, particularly if they’re as good as these are….when I used to run races we were always thrilled to find our pictures…you should post these somewhere (along with the others) so that parents can get a copy…

  6. KathUsitalo says:

    Hooray for the Red, White and Blue,
    and Bloggers Like You!

  7. jeffstroud says:


    As a fellow photographer I am glad you went and took some great photographs of The Heart of America being proud! Great work!
    The three Girls, The Cotton Candy kid, and the guy with the horn, are my favs!!!

    Happy 4th of July to you!

  8. Gorgeous Kathy! Just gorgeous! Thanks for taking us along! Love, S

  9. Susan Derozier says:

    Thanks so much Kathy for taking me along on your parade journey. Loved the pictures and small town flavor. Now I feel like I’ve celebrated the 4th!

  10. georgia mom says:

    Happy our computer got up and going today to enjoy the Parade and your wonderful pictures. The editor should let you publish and give you a by-line!! Ga Mom

  11. Dad says:

    Kathy—Nice 4 of July post!!! You know I’m a coffee nut,but ice coffee with hazel nut! I’ll have to sleep on that. Hope you and Barry have a great 4th of July. Dad

  12. barb says:

    Those UP kids are adorable My favorite pic is the man with dog – a great character study of both! Our mountain parade used to be quaint and old-timey, but now people are lined 6 deep along Main St. Everyone ends up in the Mts ’cause it’s hot in the city.

  13. Sybil says:

    It’s not the same without the camera is it Kathy ? Do you think about us and what you’ll tell us as you take your photos ?

    Happy 4th of July.


  14. lynnekovan says:

    Lovely shots. I feel as if I was there! Cameras are a must for days out like this. I feel lost without mine. Really enjoyed this post.

  15. john says:

    It looks like my kids and my granddaughter were just a little way down from you closer to the Side Track. I don’t think they’ve missed the parade for quite a long time. I am glad they know the real thing when they see it. God Bless America!

  16. P.j. grath says:

    Love them all, esp. three little girls, cotton candy and older man with dog. Glad you didn’t stick to the take-no-pictures plan, Kathy!

  17. Karma says:

    These pictures are wonderful Kathy. You’ve done something here I’ve never had the guts to do – taking candid shots of strangers (or maybe in the small place you live, they are not strangers?). You’ve posted such a great glimpse of small town America; I just love it.
    (I did something I’ve never done with the Rebel this weekend – I tried pictures of fireworks, and I followed our friend Scott’s advice. I haven’t looked at them yet, but I am hoping to look and hopefully find something worth posting on the blog today.)

  18. We didn’t see any parades yesterday, but we did find some fireworks to watch.
    Happy 4th of July, Kathy!

  19. holessence says:

    Kathy – It would have been a crime if you hadn’t taken your camera. There are sooooooooo many “favorites” in this post, but the one that takes the Blue Ribbon is “Man, Dog.” Norman Rockwell, indeed!

  20. jeff v says:

    GREAT shots! Thanks for sharing. especially love the man and dog. Hope you can share them all with a wider audience, Lake Superior magazine or Traverse ?? As they say on those talent shows , you nailed it! Happy 4th indeed.

  21. Kathy says:

    I am glad you enjoyed the pictures, the taste of small-town America! You guys are great. You make me glad that I decided to take the camera. (OK, once you start to see the cute kids and the dogs and everything how could you NOT take pictures???) Sybil, I don’t think about blogging when I take pics anymore. I did for the first months of blogging; but then realized that was preventing me from being in the present moment. Jeff V, gosh, would you be my agent? LOL! Barry is plugging the blog in his column this weekend, mostly cuz he had such fun watching his wife run around with the camera at the parade. I hope you ALL enjoyed your 4th of July weekend, fireworks or parade or sitting quietly at home relaxing… thank you for stopping by. You guys are the greatest! And I mean that!

  22. Elle says:

    Looks like you had a ball. I wish we had a parade to go to here. I’ll have to check and find out if any of the small towns around have one. Maybe we can find one in time for next year. I like your pictures. You take some really good pictures.

  23. Just seeing those sleeping babies is making me MORE tired than I already am!! If I’m going out anywhere (other than work), I try to take my camera along. Even if I don’t end up using it (which I don’t always), at least I had it “just in case”! Good thing you ended up deciding to get some shots! 🙂

  24. Nice zooms on the little things that make small town America so sweet!

  25. Lissa says:

    Your photos are so inspiring. I actually teared up at the old man and the dog, just amazing.

  26. camperkel says:

    I was thinking you would write about Nikki & Bob at some point (Java By the Bay)…I was friends with her down here in Three Lakes. She’s the one that mentioned your blog a long time ago, and I enjoy it very much…Great pics from the 4th!

  27. Kathy says:

    Thanks again, everyone! Such fun! Glad to share it with all of you..

  28. This made me stand up and salute! Americana defined, Kathy!

  29. Kiah says:

    Love Jen’s family!

  30. Jen Snow says:

    Thanks Kiah!! I’m trying to get Kenzie to sleep as I type this and was re-reading this blog. So wish I was able to see you while you’re home! And thanks again Kathy 🙂

  31. Butcho says:

    Class of 1962

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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