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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day!

Confession - this 4th of July, I stayed at home.

With all that's been happening, especially in the last 6 months, I am craving some down time.
Time to accomplish a few things around the house, do some exercise, blog, advance some knitting projects that are paused at need-thought points.
I love the Little Brother, the DH, and the friends with which I have been blessed but I do need some time alone.

ANYWAY...last 4th of July was an excellent day and a grand outing and there are many, many pictures! We got to ride in a parade too!
So, I'm going to celebrate this 4th both ways - at home accomplishing a few things and by reveling in the 2011 Benson Arizona Independence Day Parade (which is probably happening again this year, even as I type!).

A group of crafting ladies (including myself) were invited to ride on Benson's, then-very-new, "BAT" bus in the Benson 4th of July Parade.
(No, we weren't dignitaries - the bus driver is part of our craft group! I suspect the dignitaries hadn't yet figured out a key point. **)
The Brand New Benson Area Transit (BAT) Bus
The Benson's 4th of July parade is made up of a variety of motorized and non-motorized vehicles, horses, firetrucks, and many others that I didn't get to witness 'cause I was spectating from within the parade.
Here's the view as the parade participants lined up before the parade started.
The View out the Front
The View out the Back
Ok, I thought the views to the side were much more interesting where some of the Fire Trucks were lining up. (Ooooh - Firemen!) ;-)  (Click to make big the pics.)
No, Benson's Fire Department does not have this many trucks. The Fire Departments from the near-by communities come to join the parade and the festivities.


We weren't the only spectators of the Pre-Parade:
The signal was given and the Parade started. These folks were riding in style:

(So were we...we had Air Conditioning! **)

Now, the tradition of the parade is to throw candy to the folks watching the parade...and we had two young ladies taking care of that task (Perhaps a bit over-zealously....we ran out of candy not quite half way through the parade. And there may have been a bit of candy "litter" before the concept of "throw candy where there are kids sitting" had sunk in).

See the blur of flung candy just below the flag on the right? {grin}
The spectators came prepared (or improvised) ways to collect the thrown candy:

The rest of us smiled and waved at the folks watching the parade:

Yep, I was also knitting on one of a Mitt Envy pair that I later gifted to someone at Christmas.
After the parade, we took a tour of Benson (guided by 2 of the ladies that had lived there for many years). I did a poor job of taking photographs or jotting down the fun and interesting stories they told us.

We then arrived at the park where the various Fire Departments would be cooling the spectators, themselves, and demonstrating their prowess with Fire Hoses.

I have to wonder if the Firemen were tickled to get out the ladder truck....
hoist a hose up to the top and...
Gift folks with a bit of "Swamp Cooling":

But the ladder truck hose was only used for a very little bit....but the Firemen weren't done yet....

Know what this is for?

They finished setting up the hoses and tested the line pressure...
To the delight of the Arizona-Sunshine-Heated crowd:

Then the teams of firefighters from the various departments lined up, took up a hose, and did their level best to use the stream from the hose to push the barrel to the opposite edge of the wire, overcoming the other team's efforts to do the same.

 I lost track of how many teams there were...the contests seemed to end pretty quickly and then they started over again.

Amidst the barrel contests, the Firemen made sure their spectators did not get too warm:
 The crowd loved it! Especially the children. They danced and slid and splashed about - whether they'd come dressed for soaking or not.

It was a grand and lovely day, culminating in an indoor picnic with my crafting friends (stellar people and good cooks all)!

I hope you-all had even half as much fun today as I had at last year's Independence Day celebrations and accomplished even more than I did on today's "down-day" holiday.

And, please remember...true freedom isn't "free".
Love and thanks are offered to the many, many people that make our country and the blessings we enjoy possible.
Blessings and hope are offered to the people of the world that struggle against a lack of freedom.

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