This was a dry Independence Day. Not only did it not rain but there was no water fight. The water fight has been my favorite July Fourth activity for years. The Coast Guard and Fire Department square off against each other. With a beer keg in the middle of Lincoln street they face off with high-pressure fire hoses to move the keg across a goal line. First team that scores three kegs wins. Of course, the main reason to watch this is to get wet as the teams turn their sprays on the crowd. Some kids run away from the spray to stay dry (not many), some run toward the hoses to get wet, especially on a hot day. On rainy days, who cares?
But because of the COVID there was no water fight, there was no parade, there were no games on the lawn, no corn hole tournament, no free root beer floats and no rows of food booths at the end of Lincoln Street. These booths feature all American food like pancit and Chicken Adobo from the Philippines, tacos, teriyaki sticks, Indian Fry Bread, Cuban sandwiches, reindeer sausage, or hot dogs. (I love our country.) The Philippine Community did sell food at Sizzling Chow restaurant, and the Elks sold their traditional Taco Boats in their parking lot. Not being concentrated in one place was probably better for the health of the community.
Fireworks had been canceled but the Hames family stepped forward and headed the effort to shoot colorful pyrotechnics over the channel where we could park our cars and watch, socially distanced, if we wanted, or we could go to Totem Square, Castle Hill, the island or stand along the bridge. Fireworks are easy to watch as a social distance.
We really missed the traditional parade. But several folks organized old car parade. Old cars are defined as 1970 or older, 50 years old, although some 70’s cars slipped in. (Suzi and I had a 1928 Model A Ford until we moved to Alaska. It was considered an antique but for most of the time we owned it, it would not qualify for this parade, not old enough.) The cars started at Whale Park and drove the length of the road system, detouring down some main residential and business streets. They did some stylin’ & crusin’. The participants were socially distanced in their cars and most Sitkans could look out their windows or step out on their decks or lawns as the cars cruised by. And what about parade music? well I put together an hour of crusin’ music and played it on Raven Radio, so the cars had it playin’ while they was a cruisin’. We musically cruised Highways 49, 61, and 66, in our Merry Oldsmobile’s, Rocket 88s, Solid Gold Cadillacs, Tin Lizzies, 409s and Hot Rod Lincolns with Maybelline, Mustang Sally, Lucille (in that Oldsmobile), Dinah Shore (seeing the USA in her Chevrolet) while Jenny took a ride. And Chuck is still frustrated because he can’t unfasten his safety belt. It was all American (Except the Beatles let us drive their car.)
After the show I sanitized the microphone, computer mice, keyboards, faders, headphones and headed to the Centennial building to take some pic of the cars.
One thing that went off as usual was the Rotary Duck Race. Every year Rotary dumps thousands of numbered yellow rubber duckies into Granite Creek at the highway bridge. The first three ducks to the weir at the mouth of the creek and the last duck win prizes for those who purchased that duck’s number. Another 22 Ducks are also winners, but I have no idea why. Since we’re all outside and stretched along the riverbank social distancing worked pretty well. Duck wranglers with rakes helped move along those ducks that got stuck on rocks. The weir assured that no ducks escaped to become oceanic invasive species. All ducks counted and accounted for.
(And all the money raised by Rotary stays in Sitka as grants to local organizations. Proceeds from last year’s Duck Race went to help feed Sitkans during the COVID Crisis. More is needed this year so, of course, it had to go on.)
So even with social distancing and no water fight, we had a fine 4th. And no doubt there will be rumbling booms all night. Now about fixing the dry part. Suzi and I are toasting the glorious 4th with glass of Port.