Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Best Place for the 4th of July

I love Ashton, Idaho.  It's one of the big bonuses I got in marrying Jared (his great family, of course, is an even bigger bonus).  The town of Ashton consists of about 1000 pretty darn nice people who live scattered around some of the most lovely farmland - the rolling fields of potatoes, barley and canola are the perfect foreground for the beautiful snowy Tetons you can see in the distance.  The farm in Ashton where Jared grew up is heaven for our kids and their plethora of Loosli cousins.  They jump on the trampoline and swing on the huge swings in the back yard and play in the water at the lake.  They go out on tractor rides and feed the cows and ride the horses and do anything they can do to help their Uncle Brian (who runs the family farm) and his super-cool son Mark with various farm duties.

And Ashton knows how to do up the forth of July just perfectly.

We've been coming here for the 4th for most of our married life.  I've spend the 4th in DC and in Boston where the fireworks and activities combined with the historical significance of the place makes for some pretty amazing 4th of July celebrations.  But I think Ashton takes the cake for a perfect 4th of July.

The parade here is awesome.  Anyone and everyone can be in it.  You just go line up with your truck, four-wheeler, bike, tractor, float or whatever you've got handy and join right in. You can decorate your vehicle but really, all that matters is that you've got a lot of candy to throw out.  My kids and whatever cousins are always in the parade.  Sometimes they've done a semi-elaborate float but mostly they just decorate a pick-up truck and ride in the back of that.  Those watching the parade get pretty impressive amounts of candy thrown at them (Oliver collected a full grocery bag-full today) plus people walk along the streets passing out free chocolate milk and ice cream sandwiches (these have become a staple).  This year they also threw out t-shirts, water bottles, and the local "Frost Top" hamburger joint passed out nice glass mugs from their float.  Sometimes they pass out bags of potatoes.  You never know what you're going to get.  But it's always a surprising amount of free stuff - and free is always exciting.

The kids worked so hard coloring the banners to go on the truck for the parade

Ready to set out in the parade

Oliver opted not to ride in the parade - he thought collecting candy was a far more exciting option


The beloved old merry-go-round

Oliver won the gunny sack race

the band was quite impressive

The foam sprayed from the fire truck was super fun - lots of foam-throwing wars!
After the parade, there's a totally classic 4th of July festival at the city park. They have potato sack races, three-legged races, a watermelon eating contest, generally impressive live music, and the fire truck comes to spray everyone down plus this year the firetruck sprayed foam all over the old tennis court and it was super fun for everyone.  There are hamburgers and hot dogs and snowcones and cotton candy.  There are scores of kids in red white and blue t-shirts climbing all over the playground and working together to keep the old merry-go-round going super fast (makes me sad they don't have those things in playgrounds anymore - sure, they could be dangerous but so is almost everything fun!).  The weather's usually perfect - not too hot but nice and sunny.  Everything's free except the food.  There are lots of people but it's not crowded and you can jump into a three-legged race w/o waiting.  It's low-key and exciting at the same time.  We love it.

Then when we've had our fun at the park, we head out to the little Loosli cabin by the lake and play in the water, play volleyball, chat on the deck, read, relax and have a big BBQ with not only all the immediate Loosli family who are about to come up for the 4th but also dozens of extra extended relatives and friends.  It's always a serious party.  The only problem with the cabin is that there are crazy-mean mosquitos out there who are somewhat repellant-resistant - and somehow Silas seems to have super-sweet blood.  Poor guy, he got like 50 mosquito bites as soon as the sun started to dip and those blood-suckers came out.

And when everyone is done at the cabin, we come back to the house and the men of the family put on a very impressive fireworks show in the backyard.

So even though Jared's in DC, the kids and I couldn't imagine the 4th of July anywhere but Ashton.  We miss Jared but we're so happy he and Ashton are having a great time and that we get to be here in this place we love with so many people that we love!
Time with cousins is always a big huge hit - and the trampoline is non-stop fun
It's so pretty here!  Those are the Tetons in the distance.
P.S.  I did the "Loosli 5K" this morning and won!  There was only one other person in the 5K division (the other 3 people in the "race" did the 10K division).  But hey, I ran the whole 3 miles up and down hills and even kept going past the finish for a 4th mile of combined walking running.  I'm improving!


L3 said...

I came across your blog from your sister's blog. When I saw Ashton, Idaho, I could totally relate. My in-laws were in St. Anthony, ID. We have been to Ashton for the 4th a couple of times, but St. Anthony's big celebration is the 24th. We were a military family and St. Anthony was a constant in our children's lives, and our married life. We have had a love/hate relationship with St. Anthony and consider it more different than living in Europe, in many ways! Now, the Ancient Ones are gone, and we miss it more than we thought we would.

Rachael Patterson said...

I love small town parades, reminds me of where I grew up. THE SLC celebrations have become so commercialized, the run and genuineness has been lost. Thanks for sharing!

emily ballard said...

Sounds perfect!


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