Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Here's a happy family at last year's Idaho Falls Fourth of July parade. According to the caption where we found this photo (engineergirls.blogspot.com), we have (from left) Pooh Bear, Drama, E-man, Roo, The Boss, Grandma Tina and Bea. In back are brand-new cousin Roman with his dad.   
Summer begins this evening, which means the Fourth of July is not far away. As usual, Idaho Falls will offer a lot to do on Independence Day. Much will be very familiar to anyone who's lived here for a year or more, but let's have a look at the schedule.

The Military Affairs Committee will start the day with the Firecracker 5K Fun Run, 7:15 a.m. at Tautphaus Park. Registration forms can be found at www.idahofallschamber.com.

(Personal note: Last year, I did this in slightly more than half-an-hour. This year, I need to do some serious roadwork in the next two weeks if I hope to finish at all.)

Once the run is over, South Boulevard will be cleared for the State of Idaho's largest Fourth of July parade. Beginning in the Idaho Falls High School parking lot, the route goes down Fourth Street, left on South Boulevard and all the way to Tautphaus Park.

At 9 a.m., classic cars and Idaho Falls Police Department will start the parade, the theme of which is "Pride in Patriotism.” There are 106 floats signed up, and more 50,000 people are expected to line the route. The chamber is excited to announce the return of the El Korah Kart Kore, the Mountain River Ranch Shootout, Snake River BMX Bike Club and D.A.R.E./Dr. Slaughters.

This year’s marshals include Officer Malin Reynolds and Capt. Mark McBride (City of Idaho Falls Police Department); Corp. Peter Sibus (Idaho State Police); Sgt. Jeff Edwards (Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office); Tyler Weddle (Idaho Falls Fire Department); Mark Pitcher (Idaho Falls Emergency Medical Technician); and Tami Lords (Air Idaho Rescue). There will be helicopter and jet fly-overs from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Utah Helicopter, National Guard Gowen Field and Hill Air Force Base.

The AT&T Liberty Festival on the Falls bridges the gap between the parade in the morning and the fireworks in the evening. Sponsored by Snake River Landing, Melaleuca and Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, it will be on Memorial Drive between Broadway and E Street. More than 25 food vendors and 50 businesses, including arts and crafts vendors, will showcase their products and services during the festival. Classic cars will line the center of Memorial Drive from noon until 4:30 p.m. There will be games, pie and watermelon eating contests for children and adults, Play-N-Trade video game competition, and Apple Athletic Club volleyball and basketball challenges. Onstage, there will be music by the Old Time Fiddlers, Happyville, 40 Something Band, Affection Collection, and dance performances by Ballet Folklorico del Sol.

In the evening comes the fireworks display, presented as the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, frequently billed as the largest fireworks display west of the Mississippi River. I don't know how a claim like this is ever substantiated, or even how such a thing could be done. I do know, however, that Idaho Falls' fireworks show has a reputation as one of the big ones and it draws tens to thousands of people to town. Here's a little bit of video from last year's show, brought to you through the modern miracle of YouTube:

Want to know more? Go to the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce Web site, www.idahofallschamber.com, for a complete schedule of events.