As always, Hailey's Days of the Old West Independence Day Parade on Monday, July 4, will be a homegrown, patriotic spectacle.
And, this year, that sentiment is being given an extra boost. Little League baseball players are scheduled to carry about 100 placards featuring the names of local members of the military on active duty abroad, including the 44 members of the Hailey Armor Scout Platoon attached to the Idaho National Guard's 116th Cavalry Brigade serving in Iraq. The recognition is also for local members of the military serving with the other branches of the armed forces.
The 2005 parade's theme is "Honoring Hailey's Military: Past, Present and Future."
"The problem is every time we turn around we're finding another name," said Darryl Byington, touching base with soldiers and their families at the armory in Hailey, including his son Cody, who is a Guard member. Volunteers helping to organize the Fourth of July celebration believe more soldiers are in the community, but that they have not contacted the Wood River Valley Family Support Group that meets at 7:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month (except in July) at the armory.
"I think there's a ton of families that haven't contacted us," said Melissa Humphreys, whose husband, Brian, an ex-Marine serving with the Guard, is due home soon for the birth of their daughter.
This year's parade, Hailey Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Spinelli predicts, will be "bigger, better, faster and funner" than ever.
That doesn't mean it's going to be high-tech. Among the 30 to 50 expected entries, animals, tractors and other icons of rural Idaho will prevail.
"It's a good-old, hometown parade," Spinelli said.
The grand marshal for this year for Hailey's Days of the Old West Fourth of July Parade is Rick Davis, president of the Hailey City Council.
Honorary grand marshals are the Heritage Court Ladies—Anita Gray, of Ketchum/Sun Valley; Orpha Smith Mecham, of Carey; Lula Banker Shoemaker, of Bellevue; and Gladys McAtee, of Hailey—who were honored Sunday, June 26, by the Blaine County Historical Museum at a coronation and pageant at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey. The four ladies will ride in a vintage carriage in Hailey's Days of the Old West Fourth of July Parade, Carey's Pioneer Days Parade, Ketchum's Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade, and Bellevue's Labor Day Parade.
Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. at Hop Porter Park, where vendors will set up their booths to sell crafts.
Early morning activities preceding the Independence Day "Mile Long" Parade also includes the Boy Scouts Pancake Breakfast, an annual feed for a good cause. It starts 8 a.m. at Hailey Grange Hall.
The Old Frontier Gang "Shootout with a Stagecoach" provides the annual blastoff preceding the parade at 11:30 a.m. at Main Street and Croy Street in Hailey, preceded by the singing of the "Star-Spangled Banner."
The parade will start on Main Street at noon at Myrtle Street and proceded south. Gary Stivers, "the Voice of the Valley," will recognize the local military while he announces the parade.
Hailey-style activities following the parade include a healthy portion of barbecue sauce, ice cream and two venues for antique goods.
A barbecue, children's activities and music will all take place at Hop Potter Park from 1 to 5 p.m., and an Ice Cream Social will be held at the Hailey Cultural Center, 314 2nd Avenue South.
Days of the Old West Button Barbecue tickets are $9 for adults and $6 for children, seniors and members of the military. Buttons can be purchased in advance at the Visitor's Center and from various merchants in Hailey.
The band Public Radio will play bluegrass and Hailey resident Will Bell, originally from Tennessee, will play his unique form of Southern rock.
Children's activities will be for all ages. They will include an inflatable jumping castle, miniature golf, face painting, arts and crafts, a tug of war and a costume-changing relay.
The activities will be organized by Fred Frates, an AmeriCorps volunteer who runs The Hub Youth Center at the Community Campus in Hailey. They will include a raffle to help fund The Hub, which provides activities for youths from the fifth through 12th grades. The raffle winner will get half the proceeds.
Profits from the barbecue will go toward future community events. For the first time, the chamber has obtained over $6,000 in pledges from local businesses and individuals to cover potential financial losses, which have occurred in years of bad weather. The pledges were obtained through the hard work of chamber's Fourth of July Committee co-chairs, Gary Coats, general manger of Marketron International, and Chris Maloney, escrow officer at Amerititle.
Marketron, Hailey's second biggest employer after Power Engineers, will also provide some supplies, such as chairs and radios.
Spinelli said that an important change this year is that throwing candy and water fights during the parade will be prohibited.
"We want it to be safe and fun," he said.
Spinelli said that last year a child was almost run over by a float when he ran into the street to pick up a piece of candy. In addition, he said, eye injuries are a hazard and are not covered by the city's insurance policy.
Spinelli said the city received complaints last year about water fights.
"There were many people, especially older people, who got soaked," he said.
Fireworks—the traditional grand finale of Hailey's Independence Day celebration—will compare to the brilliant show last year. They will be launched from the parking lot by the football field at the high school. They will be set off at 10:20 p.m. and the spectacular pyrotechnic display will cascade across the night skies over Quigley Canyon to the east of town.
Also, to get a jump start on the holiday weekend, take your buckaroo Friday night to the Sawtooth Rangers Rodeo in the Rodeo Grounds in Hailey.
Wake Up with Hailey!
Wake Up with Hailey!, the monthly gathering of business and professional people sponsored by the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, will be held next week at the Blaine County Historical Museum. The gathering is held each month at a different place of business to showcase the host for the month for the purpose of helping to network with fellow businesses and professional people. The Blaine County Historical Museum gathering will be Tuesday, July 5, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The site on the corner of Main and Galena streets was made possible by Leon and Lucille Friedman, who donated the building to the city of Hailey with the stipulation that it be converted to a museum. The building is now in need of improvements and expansion due to the wear and tear of history and the ever-increasing accumulation of historical materials recording the past.