Written by Administrator
Thursday, 15 April 2010 00:00
Robert Kirby wrote this in the Salt Lake Tribune July 27, 2005. Special thanks to the Tribune for allowing us to reprint them here.
Salt Lake Tribune
July 27, 2005
One night every year, Salt Lake hosts the biggest land grab since
the arrival of the Mormon pioneers. Temporary homesteads are staked
out along downtown curbs with lawn chairs and sleeping bags.
For some, camping out the night before the Days of 47 Parade is a
long family tradition. Although technically in someone else’s yard,
they can trace their parade route spot lineage all the way back to
Serious parade vets can point to where grandma got squirted with a
fire hose back in ’61, and can diagram the hourly tree shade patterns
of their spots from memory.
I have watched parades, been in parades, and even worked parades as a
cop. The charm has long since worn off. I thought I was done with
them until last week.
Marysvale hosted its annual parade Saturday morning. I was coming out
of the Prospector Restaurant—having just eaten a stack of pancakes
the size of bathmats—when I noticed the town preparing for an event.
I thought it might be a quick-draw gunfight. The street was eerily
quiet. People peeked expectantly out of shop windows. Animals
scurried for cover.
Within minutes, the short stretch of Highway 89 was lined with ATVs
and families. Someone noticed our confusion and said, “It’s the
parade.” Then they moved over so we could sit down and watch it with
them. Try THAT in Salt Lake.
Sharply at the top of the hour, Piute County sheriff’s deputies shut
down Highway 89. A howling of sirens began at the north end of town.
After a minute of electronic dog-clearing, a trailer hauling a flag
and a group of old vets ambled down the street. Everyone got up and
put their hands over their hearts.
Then came an ear-splitting promenade of emergency vehicles;
ambulances, search and rescue rigs, fire trucks, all driven by men
and women on a first name basis with the entire crowd.
Nothing was over-polished. One entry consisted entirely of a weary
five-year-old kid with blue hair, streamers and training wheels on
And it just kept getting better. Marysvale royalty looked like
personable women I might actually be able to talk to without first
going through their agents or, barring that, getting maced.
There were cardboard army tanks, old folks on ATVs, young folks in
old cars, and not a single professionally constructed float in the
What appeared to be an international entry all the way from New
Guinea—a trailer with a bunch of well-groomed heads on sticks—turned
out to be an entry from a local hair salon.
Can’t have a parade without horses. Some were livelier than others.
The town coot had a petrified mule on a flatbed that he guarded with
a double-barrel shotgun. The gun occasionally went off but nobody got
hurt that I saw.
Last Updated on Sunday, 18 April 2010 05:16