Sunday, July 5, 2015

4th of July Festivals

We celebrated Independence Day with not one, but two festivals. I was both surprised and impressed by everyone's cooperation.

Our morning began at Birkdale with a parade and various free events. I wanted a family picture by one of the firetrucks, but Jackson was in no mood. (Confession: When I looked at the photo, my first instinct was to delete it because I didn't like the way I looked. After reading this article the night before, I decided to keep it.)

The kids witnessed their first ever parade. James was clapping, pointing, and grinning at the firetrucks, though the girls became upset at the sirens. I had a brief flash back to the scene in Mr. Holland's Opus when they found out the son was deaf because he didn't react to the firetrucks at the parade. Of course James recently passed his hearing test and I know he's fine; I guess I just have to have something to worry over.

The main part of the parade was the hundreds of local children riding bicycles, scooters, and wagons. If we had planned ahead, we could have decorated the wagon and walked the kids through the parade. It was probably more fun to watch than walk. 

There were many tents and booths set up with 4th of July crafts and games. My favorite was the photo booth filled with patriotic props.

Just pretend they're all standing together, looking at the camera, and smiling.

Jackson had his hair spray painted. He really wanted his face painted but he wasn't willing to wait in the long line.

Jackson really wanted a balloon creation (animal, hat, etc). The line was so long that Jesse and I took turns waiting in line with two kids while the other person took two kids and walked around. While I waited, Jesse received free popcorn. While Jesse waited, the kids and I explored the inside of the firetrucks.

At last, the long awaited balloon sword did not disappoint!

One of my favorite parts of the festival was watching the firemen take down the flag. I think this was James' favorite part, too. He was captivated by the lowering of the ladder and the men scaling the ladder.

[Insert drive home, lunch, and nap here.]

In the evening we headed to yet another festival. This one was more like a carnival with rides and vendors. Hardly anything was free, but we know how to spread our money thin (i.e. $20 for dinner for six and multiple "rides"). After all our fun at Monkey Joe's the day before, Jackson was drawn to the large inflatables. 

The one free thing was the petting zoo. Amelia kept a safe distance and Maddie refused to even get out of her stroller. James and Jackson were the only two that actually pet any of the animals.

Jackson's favorite part was the merry go round. He waved every single time he passed us.

Please notice the creepy monkey ride behind Jack. 
The skies were ominous but we continued to walk around. Hundreds of people crowded under tents as it began to rain. It was barely drizzling when we sat down to eat, but by the time we were finished eating we were all wet. Rain can't deter these piggies from eating!

It was a fun family day. For the first few years of motherhood, I grieved not going out to tailgate and watch fireworks on the Fourth. I've finally embraced the fact that fireworks are just not fun for kids at this age, but we can still have fun as a family. 

Happy 4th of July!