Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fourth publicity

Mary Beth Smetzer called Mike Musick who called me wanting to know when the Ester Fourth of July parade was so she could put it in her calendar of events for the News-Miner. My immediate reaction was--gads, don't publicize it!--but I wasn't entirely sure about that. Mike didn't know exactly how he felt about it, either, apparently--"Do you want her number?" he asked. I said no, but I kept thinking about it. Do we really want a ton of Fairbanksans showing up? Do we want to advertise it? I mean, it's fun having an audience, but it's not a commercial event, it's just fun. And it's just us and our neighbors, goofing around for ourselves and our neighbors.

Fairbanks doesn't even have a parade any more. The last few years, according to people who've been to it and told me their (mostly negative) impressions of it (I heard about this from folks at the Ester 4th of July celebration, so this is a self-limiting group that had given up on the Fairbanks version), Fairbanks has had a fairly militaristic and commercial display/festival at Alaskaland (a.k.a. "Pioneer Park"). It's turned people off, so they come out to Ester to watch the parade, where satire and foolishness and spur-of-the-moment costuming are the norm, and sacred cows and politicians are regularly lampooned, as befits a proper jest.

I remember being in the Fairbanks parade once when I was little. It was great fun--until it started raining. Then it was awful. (I was a little kid and they wouldn't let us get off the float and go somewhere warm and dry right away--a BIG mistake with a bunch of four-year-olds on board.) But I loved the parades: floats and jugglers and music and more. But apparently not any longer. Too bad. I can't say for myself what the Fairbanks celebration is like, because I haven't been to it for a long, long time.

What I don't understand is why, say, Goldstream and Two Rivers and College and all these other communities don't organize their own little parades and parties and whatnot. Especially tightknit places like Goldstream or Chena Hot Springs--who needs a big humongous expensive thing? Just do it! Have fun! Looks like North Pole is having one, though! And Salcha. Good for them.

All you need for a parade is a beginning, a middle, and an end. That's three people in costume, and poof! You've got a parade. Easy.


Kara said...

hi there,
sorry to be posting a comment but i am trying to get in touch with you and cannot find an email address. your blog is hosting Carnival of the Green at TreeHugger on July 9th. can you please contact me so we can chat about setting up the submission process? many thanks in advance.
Kara DiCamillo

Nicole said...

Hello! Just wanted to thank you for your thoughts on the parade. I wrote a post about the parade today over at subarctic mama. Great parade today!

CabinDweller said...

Hmmm. As a Goldstream resident, I'm not convinced that it is that tightly knit as a community. It's pretty spread out and there are strikingly different lifestyles and income levels... from the student renters to newer actually-built-by-contractors +300,000$ homes up on the hills.

The question, I suppose, is IS there a center - would people buy in?

Megan said...

This was the first Ester 4th I've missed since moving here. Fourth of July just wasn't the same without it! Hope it was as wonderful as ever... I was way up on a mountain, ID'ing plants. I'm not complaining... but I sure missed the chance to catch up with everyone and eat Calypso radishes!

Ishmael said...

I think they have a 4th of July Parade here in Kodiak, but rumor has it that the thing starts at like 10 in the morning, which is barely five hours after most civilized people get home from the firework parties that started at midnight.

Of course I don't miss the things; growing up in Dillingham, we never had them -- everyone was fishing in a boat, on the beach or working in a cannery on the fourth.