Friday, July 1, 2005

Hailey rolls out red carpet for Fourth of July

Parade theme is 'Honoring Hailey's Military: Past, Present and Future'

Express Staff Writer

Anymore, rush hour on Hailey's Main Street is reminiscent of a parade, but this Monday it will be the real thing, with floats and a stagecoach as the Old Frontier Gang Shootout kicks off another classic Fourth of July Days of the Old West celebration.

However, event organizers have asked that water-war aficionados leave their liquid ammunition at home this year as a matter of public safety. Candy also will be reserved until the end of the parade and must not be thrown into the crowd from the many floats anticipated for the event.

"I'm getting an entry an hour," said Hailey Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Spinelli. "We will take last-minute entries. Just bring $15."

Among the 40 to 50 expected entries, animals, tractors and other icons of rural Idaho will pack the mile-long parade route starting at Myrtle Street and heading south.

"It's a good-old, hometown parade," Spinelli said.

Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. at Hop Porter Park, where vendors will set up their booths to sell crafts. The parade line-up will form at Cornerstone Realty on River Street, where numbers and placements will be distributed. Any last-minute narratives about various floats will be taken to Gary Stivers, "the Voice of the Valley," who will recognize the local military while he announces the parade.

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 linked 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 Old Frontier Gang "Shootout with a Stagecoach" will begin at the intersection of Main and Croy streets between 11 a.m. and noon.

The grand marshal for this year's Days of the Old West Fourth of July Parade that starts at noon is Rick Davis, president of the Hailey City Council.

Honorary grand marshals are the Blaine County Historical Museum's 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 museum at a coronation and pageant at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey. The four ladies will ride in a vintage carriage for the Fourth. They will also ride in Carey's Pioneer Days Parade, Ketchum's Big Hitch Wagon Days Parade, and Bellevue's Labor Day Parade.

A barbecue in Hop Porter Park will follow the parade. No entry buttons will be sold this year. The barbecue is $9 for adults and $6 for children, seniors and military personnel with identification.

"There will be entertainment until 5 p.m. Our own Will Bell and Public Radio (will perform)," Spinelli said. Bell, from Hailey, plays southern country music. Public Radio is an Idaho bluegrass band. Admission is free.

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.

"There are lots of things for the kids that we've never had," Spinelli said, reiterating that parade organizers would like people to keep water and candy at home for safety's sake.

Profits from the barbecue will go toward future community events.

Fireworks will begin around 10 p.m. They will be launched over Quigley Canyon behind Wood River High School.

Also, the Sawtooth Rangers Rodeo begins Saturday in the Rodeo Grounds in Hailey.

The Rodeo begins at 7 p.m., but each evening through the Fourth there will be a pre-rodeo event at 6:30. Saturday is the Queens' freestyle horsemanship; Sunday is children's mutton busting and donkey calf-roping; and Monday is the crowing of the queen.

"I've ordered good weather," Spinelli said.

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