05 July 2011

Independence Day weekend in Sitka - pictures ahoy!

If there's one thing Sitka knows how to do well, it's to throw a big celebration and party. This time around, we got to enjoy our first July 4 parade in Sitka as well as Seren's first time ever marching in a parade! There are plenty of pictures here, so I'll just do the rest of my writing as captions. Be sure to make it all the way to the end, even if you don't study every picture or read every caption.

We attended the July 4th booths at Baranof Elementary School on two different days (they were open from Friday through Monday). In addition to fry bread, hot dogs, Filipino food (mmmm), and other "carnival" food, there were booths raising money for a few local organisations through games. We worked the booth for the preschool/child care center we've used this year and the kids got to play on the playground a bit.

Saturday night, fireworks started at 11:30. The neat thing about Sitka's geography is that we have two islands separated by an ocean channel and almost all of the population lives on Baranof Island. This means that the fireworks can be shot off of Japonski Island and people can congregate almost anywhere they want on Baranof (or the bridge) for great views and awesome echos. We chose a spot at Totem Square downtown and were treated to some spectacular reflections as well as a bar fight!

Sunday morning, our friend Cassidy invited us over for brunch on his liveaboard boat (we suspect he's lonely with Stefanie away at school stuff). Kids don't float.

...but Porter does look cute lounging on the back deck!

Seren got chilly, so she borrowed one of Cassidy's sweaters. She looked like she belonged in a Dana Carvey/Kevin Nealon sketch.

The kid has freckles!

Due to me deleting the picture of Seren in the parade, this is the best it gets, so you get two pictures of her and her bike all decked out. She had a great time participating in her first parade ever.

Jo made the wig two Halloweens ago and it got TONS of comments along the parade route. The outfit made sense for the group we were with.

All Sitka parades run down the main street, Lincoln Street. This particular parade started at the Sheldon Jackson campus, meaning that it was probably about a half mile parade.

You know it's a big parade in Sitka if the Coast Guard does a flyover in formation. For my money, the MH-60s are the coolest thing flying in the military right now, and this is consistently the most exciting flyover I've ever seen.

In keeping with Sitka being selected as a Coast Guard City, the honor guard and Air Station crew started off the parade. I'll narrate the rest of the pics as appropriate.

Yes, Captain America apparently works on the USCGC Maple.

Sitka Mountain Rescue, our local search and rescue service, shows off all of their gear. That's a physics teacher up front.

Alaska Day re-enactors, much like re-enactors anywhere else.

Civil Air Patrol. In a state where aviation is a way of life, this is a great way for teenagers to get in the air, possibly leading to a professional career.


Fortress of the Bear brought their pony. I guess their more famous residents weren't parade safe.

This is the group we were with. The gold-fendered wheel is on the bike formerly owned by Alice Machesney, a local eccentric and minor celebrity. Alice died just before we got to town last year, but her memory very much lives on. She was known for rowing to town and riding her bike year-round as well as having a massive grin and a love for polka music. There's a triathlon in her honor (row, bike, play accordion) and the bike shelter at the Raven Radio Cablehouse is dedicated to her. This group is raffling off her bike in order to raise funds for a sculpture at the bike shelter. Early in the parade, I heard someone on the side of the road mention that seeing Alice's bike was the best part of the whole parade. Their invitation to marchers asked for kids, wheels, and wigs!

Allen Marine - our local boat builder, tour operator, and small-vessel cruise company. I probably forgot something they do, but they're everywhere in town.

This may have been the float that got the best reactions from most of the audience. 21 babies born since September with their 21 moms (and a mom-to-be, from what I heard).

It may not have been Follow The Fold, but they were definitely working their tambourines!

Yeah....I don't know either.

Smokey kept getting hugged. It was pretty funny.

The National Guard has a very small presence in town.

It's not a parade if you don't end with the fire trucks. In this case, every vehicle in the fire department!

This last one's out of order, but it's so fun I think it makes the scrolling worthwhile. At the halfway point in the two-week senior high camp, Sitka Fine Arts Camp put on a show that makes it clear that these kids really understand what it is to be Sitkans, even on a temporary basis. Work hard, play hard, and really don't worry about letting your hair down because everyone else is just as weird as you are.


  1. it's like two parades in one...i just have to say that i am speechless and glad to always hear how happy you folks are at finding a place to call home. can't wait to visit...

  2. Can you say more about why there is such a high population of philipino/a folks in your town and how this impacts the culture there? Perhaps in a future post...

  3. I'm glad y'all got to have a wonderful 4th of July. I see that the life vest are coming in handy. Looks like Dad will be up in a few weeks.
    By the way you do an awesome job on writing about the stuff on your blog.