So yesterday we spent our first 4th of July in Oregon, and although we chose some activities sort of at random it all turned out quite well – we had an enjoyable day celebrating our Independence!

In the morning we drove to downtown Hillsboro for their parade, which we’d heard to be large and quite good, which it was.  (Both.)  We saw plenty of military marchers, veterans and active servicemen….

… as well as some unidentifiable (to John and me) men who wore very shiny helmets, like polished mirror bowls on their heads.

(Can anyone help us out here?  Who are these men?)

The parade also specialized in Synchronized Riding.  We saw Synchronized Police Motorcycle Riding…

… Synchronized Boyscout Bicycle Riding …

… and Synchronized Horseback Riding.

These were all very cool – the horses/bikes/motorcycles would loop and swirl and circle and weave in and out of one another.

There were plenty of the basics, also – advertisements for local businesses and for state politicians, high school marching bands as well as a “the beat still goes on” older folks’ marching band, 4H clubs and local residents’ vintage cars.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the morning.

(These two girls were attached to the bar at the wrists, so what looked like the neck-breaking madness of doing high bar routines unprotected wasn’t quite so foolhardy up close.  Sadly, they didn’t do any gymnastics in front of our seats, so I didn’t get any photos of the actual acrobatics.)

(And what’s American Independence without bagpipes, anyway?)

(The following was my absolute favorite entry: a little van painted to look like a piece of Tillamook Cheese.  Awesome.)

And the parade was assuredly long – we left after 2 hours, with the end still not in sight.  We headed home and ate lunch, and had a quite few hours at home reading, and decided that a holiday was a good time to have a mid-afternoon ice cream treat.  It’s a usual family tradition anyway – surprised? – to have ice cream cones and take a walk on the afternoon of the 4th.

John’s an excellent ice cream scooper, so I thought I’d show off his handiwork before we destroyed it.  (That’s my coffee on the left, his cherry vanilla on the right.)

Our neighborhood was cheerily turned out for the holiday…

… although we didn’t see many other people.  I guess most of our neighbors have friends or family with whom they may have been celebrating; the area was a ghost town compared to a normal weekday afternoon.

But people or no people, the ice cream walk was a good idea – very enjoyable….

… except not for The Furs, who acted cool and aloof once he realized he wasn’t getting one of his own.

Later, in the early evening, we set off for Fort Vancouver (sans Maxwell) for their fireworks celebration.  The drive up was gorgeous – somehow, the weather that’s been a little cool and cloudy and a little rainy, finally turned absolutely perfect yesterday.  We drove through farmlands and forests…

… and managed to avoid running over some members of of the quail/pheasant family, despite their best efforts.

(I realize these aren’t the greatest photos, but does anyone know what kinds of birds they are?)

We also crossed a beautiful bridge, beyond which we could see Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens (which aren’t really visible in these photos) …

… and Mt. Hood off to the east, which I did manage to capture (sort of).  It’s covered by clouds, but you can see its outline, barely.

Once at the fort, we walked around a little but decided our best course was to camp out in what we hoped would be a good spot.

We ate a dinner of pitas and gyros followed by freshly popped kettle corn (double dessert day!) and spent the next couple of hours reading, people-watching, and enjoying the setting sun.

Once the fireworks started, we realized that we’d unfortunately chosen a spot that had a small set of trees directly between us and the launch point – but it was fine.  The show was short (20 minutes or so) and not terribly exciting, but nice enough, and I really enjoyed the show – I’ve been looking forward to playing with my camera in this sort of lighting environment for several months now.  I’m afraid I didn’t get any really great shots and only a few decent ones, but I’ll share them anyway – they were so fun to try for.


6 thoughts on “Celebration

  1. That was a very fun and fulfilling run through. I almost feel as if I were there. Those are pretty nice fireworks. Much better photos than I imagined possible taking with a fairly ordinary camera.

    • Good, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was quite a good day, especially for pretty much winging the plans…

      What would improve the fireworks photos would be a different lens, if anything – the camera has a large enough sensor that I can’t get any bigger without going to a full-frame. But if I had a longer zoom (the photos I posted were pretty cropped) and a larger maximum aperture, to let in more light and give me more leeway on the shutter speed…. so maybe next year, or definitely the year after, hopefully I’ll have something a little better. :)

    • It was, and it was! I’m not sure if it was the first year of our new 4th of July family tradition, or if we’ll check out some other activities next year, but we did enjoy it. It was weird being in a new(ish) place and not really knowing what to do or where to go, but we are glad we tried something!

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