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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of July 10 - 16, 2002


‘Celebrate U.S.’

Hailey revels in annual 
Fourth of July festivities

Express Staff Writer

Equipped with ice chests, colorful costumes, lawn chairs and bright smiles, thousands of patriotic revelers turned out under clear skies Thursday for the annual Fourth of July celebrations in Hailey.

This crowd-pleasing entry, above, from Elbie’s Tire and Automotive of Hailey gets a bit of fair turnaround as the passengers—known for pelting the audience with water balloons—get a taste of their own medicine. 

Events started around 9 a.m. at Wood River High School with the annual Fourth of July Wolverine Run, and concluded with the highlight of the day’s festivities, a roughly 20-minute fireworks display staged from a site near the high school’s football field. In the interim, an estimated record crowd turned out for the Days of the Old West Parade down Main Street, while hundreds packed venues throughout the town for barbecues, antique fairs, and the Days of the Old West Rodeo.

Hailey Mayor Al Lindley said he believed the festivities lived up to their billing as some of the premiere celebrations of their kind in the state.

"I think it was very successful," he said. "I was very pleased and heard nothing but positive comments about the parade, and I was very happy with the fireworks display."

The mayor said the mile-long parade through the town’s commercial core drew as many-and in all likelihood more-spectators than in any previous year. "It was probably the biggest crowd ever," he said, noting that huge crowds filled the sidewalks from Galena Street to Croy Street, with thinner crowds lining Main Street all the way south to Maple Street.

Immediately after the parade, hundreds of spectators headed to the annual Button Barbecue in Hop Porter Park to feast on traditional American fare of burgers, corn, and cold salads. The event also featured a live band and numerous booths where vendors offered arts and crafts of all sorts.

The mile-long parade, bottom, was led through the downtown by the Hailey unit of the Idaho National Guard. Express photos by Willy Cook

However, the success of the afternoon barbecue was marred that night by vandals who set off explosive fireworks in one of the site’s bathrooms and destroyed some of the fixtures "They did some major damage," Mayor Lindley said.

Following a rendition of a frontier-town shootout in front of The Mint nightclub, the Hailey unit of the Idaho National Guard started the parade procession from north to south on Main Street, tailed by a long line of groups that included Mayor Al Lindley and the Hailey City Council in a convertible Chevy Bonneville, a contingent of Hailey’s 1952 graduating class, and the new Peak commuter bus. The highlight of the event for many was a rough-around-the-edges black convertible entered by Elbie’s Tire and Automotive of Hailey which bounced on an elaborate suspension as it trailed a huge Stars and Stripes from its rear end.

The theme of this year’s parade was "Celebrate U.S." And some parade spectators said they felt a particular need to celebrate the nation’s declaration of independence in 1776 in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"You have to celebrate the Fourth of July," said Hailey resident Randy Miller. "It’s about independence and freedom, and that’s exactly what everybody wants to take from you. We’re celebrating our freedom."

Just before dark, throngs of spectators spread out in streets and surrounding high points near Wood River High School to enjoy a colorful 20-minute fireworks display funded by local businesses and residents. The price tag of the spectacle was estimated at $25,000, or roughly $1,000 per minute.

"I had quite a group of people at my house and they were quite impressed," Lindley said. "I think we got our money’s worth."

Carl Hjelm, Hailey’s assistant fire chief, said that the Fourth of July celebrations produced no serious injuries or emergencies. He said the department responded to a four-car "linear collision" on the south end of town just before the beginning of the parade that resulted in some minor injuries to motorists. The department also received a report of a small brush fire on the west end of Walnut Street just prior to the fireworks display. Hjelm said the blaze-which he noted was "more than likely" set by fireworks-was "extinguished by neighbors" before fire crews were dispatched.

Hjelm said that firemen responded to a total of only three calls July 4, but were much busier Friday, July 5, when they responded to a dozen separate incidents. "That was very busy day for us."


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