Crowds lined Main Street from the school to the Food City block in Wallowa for the Independence Day parade.
“This is the place to come for the Forth of July –– small town America,” said visiting Laurie Youngs of Hillsboro.
“This is America,” agreed Mark Youngs. “We’re enjoying Wallowa Lake, and this parade has been a family tradition for four years.”
Out-of-town extended families attended in abundance this year and enjoyed the more than 40 entries and a couple surprises.
The Riverman Family Wallowa River RV Park, which has won “Most Patriotic” several times, won the top prize this year, the $200 “City Choice Award.”
Teresa and Bill Henke left the mules home and came out in their historic “honeymoon-mobile,” a 1956 Ford F100 custom cab, and went home with the “Most Patriotic Award.”
Several of this year’s entries stood out, from Humane Society dogs in costume to Brynn and Avery Johnson on their pony “Trooper” to the “am I seeing double?” entry of John Lishco’s 1967 and 1968 Mustangs. Don Turner drove the ’68.
Other winners were the big contingent of bikers, sponsored by Outlaw Sports, who were “Cruising for Santa and Toys for Tots” and took first place in the adult division; Wallowa County Search and Rescue with several guest horseback riders took second; and the Wallowa County 4-H Court with Casidee Harrod, Brianna Micka and Rylee Wilcox and Valley Meat Service in a 1960 Jeep Willys tying for third.
Basey Dawson won first in the children’s division for her original sidesaddle entry; Aspen Cameron led her patriotically decorated pure white calf Daisy for second; and Debbie Lind brought her superhero grandsons, Finn, Hudson and Reed, for third.
More than 380 hamburgers were grilled for the Wallowa Volunteer Fire Department Fundraiser along with hundreds of hot dogs. The total take for the event is being calculated.