Travel: Fourth of July parade + picnic, Ester, Alaska-style

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I’m finally getting a chance to go through the photos from my recent ten-day trip to Alaska. One of my favorite experiences of the entire trip was the Ester Fourth of July parade and community picnic.

This, folks, is what Fourth of July parades are all about! The potluck picnic that took place directly afterward is the definition of “community” and I loved every minute of it—from watching dozens of kids ride their bikes and trikes helter skelter, to the groups of men standing around shooting the breeze, to the clans gathered under big umbrellas slurping watermelon and fresh lemonade, to the billions of dogs on display (everyone in Alaska owns a dog—or four—and brings it with everywhere they go), to the random and welcoming conversations struck up by strangers and neighbors alike.

Warning: there are a bajillion photos, so scroll fast and it’ll be just like you were there.

First, a little backstory: Ester is a tiny town adjacent to Fairbanks and is known for being a bit, ahem, “liberal”. The local newspaper, The Ester Republic, carries the tagline “The national rag of the independent people’s republic of Ester” and the following description, “The Ester Republic is an irreverent periodical published monthly in the Ester Commonwealth and written by members of the local populace and the odd guest columnist. In no way should this publication be mistaken for a regular newspaper.”

Get it? Okay. Let’s get to the good stuff.

THE PARADE

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Doesn’t Erika look cute in her American flag pants?

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One of the things that I loved about this parade, was that if you wanted to be in it, you darn well could … grab an attitude and join the fray. All were welcome.

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Oh, my.

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Phyllis and Chase, aren’t they cute? We barbecued at their house the next day. Had the BEST (gluten free) blueberry pie that I’ve ever tasted in my life. Phyllis, you’re an angel.

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Can’t have a parade without a politician … I ended up talking to him at the picnic and had no idea at the time that he was running for office. I don’t think that would have happened in California.

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The Kubota tractors were my favorites. What’s a parade without a few tractors?

THE PICNIC

It was a potluck deal … and whoo, doggies, there was some darn good food going on.

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Good heavens, the grilling was amazing: moose burgers, reindeer sausages, fresh salmon …

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… and pork. Holy crap!

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Community fun. Exactly the way the Fourth of July should be.

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4 responses »

  1. dude! I love the picture of the pig and then my a$$ right behind it!!! I hope that wasn’t some sort of artistic statement…. I know how you artistic types are! 🙂
    Thanks for the pictures. I have been waiting patiently….
    xx

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