I am convinced there is no place better to celebrate Independence Day than in Cody, Wyoming! You all should be jealous! Growing up in the American West has been an absolute blessing. My Grandparents being outfitters, we would spend every summer riding horses, leading trail rides, and meeting people from all over the world.
My favorite time of the year, next to Christmas of course, had to be the Fourth of July! In the historic Livingston, MT parade my Dad and our guides would ride through with a pack string every year!
I still remember how excited I was at 6 years old being able to ride in the parade for the first time! I felt like a princess up there on my horse, in my cowboy hat, and teal leather chinks. I even had the princess wave down pat!
I have been in a Fourth of July parade to some extent every year since!
For years is was riding in the Livingston Parade but my favorite is either watching or walking the Cody Stampede Parade. What makes this parade so superior to the one of my childhood? You ask!
For starters, the Cody Stampede has taken the same route for the last 100 years! All my friends in Livingston this year are devastated that they have changed the historic Livingston route after only 60. Although the parade itself has been an institution in the town for about 94 years. Not that anyone is counting of course 😉
Secondly, in my opinion, the safety, order, and security of the Cody Stampede Parade have always been better than in Livingston. When we rode through the parade children were unsupervised, running in the street out in the middle of our rides and the pack string (this is a very dangerous place to be even for someone with experience), and sometimes they would be lighting off firecrackers or sounding noisemakers as we rode past. This really made it hazardous for riders, stock, and parade-goers in general because you would have very little control over the situation if and when an accident occurred.
At the Cody Stampede, for as long as I can remember, they have had outriders. These men ride up and down the parade route making sure that children stay to the side of the street and won ‘t be put in danger especially when livestock or going past. The candy throwers aren’t really candy throwers in Cody because they are required to walk along the parade route next to their float and hand the candy to the children or at least make sure it is right in front of them. The streets in Cody were made intentionally wide by city planners because they anticipated the high volume of people and vehicles that would be parked along their streets especially during tourist season. This works out well at parade time because those in the parade and those watching the parade can have a safer and more enjoyable experience!
If that doesn’t tell you enough! Nearly every year our elected officials come through the Cody Fourth of July Parade out of all the parades and towns in Wyoming at this time of year!
Lastly, The Pink Lady! For longer than I have been alive, a local Codyite and her poodle have dressed up all in pink to walk the parade route. She has said for years that it would be her last parade but then every year she comes back again. One year, she had had surgery recently before the parade… but she didn’t let that stop her! She had herself pushed in a wheelchair just to keep up the tradition! This year she even became a meme on local Wyoming pages saying it just wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without her! To my knowledge, there isn’t such an iconic figure who has so consistently graces the parade in Livingston, MT.
One thing both parades have in common are marching bands and the bagpipers! Honestly, no parade would be complete without them!
The comparison I do make in absolute fun! In all honesty, if you have the pleasure to experience a good old-fashioned parade here in the northwestern United States you’re sure to have a treat! From all of our tractors and old cars to the creativity of our local businesses and organizations it will be an experience you’ll want to come back for every year.
But that’s just the start of the Fourth of July! This one I’ll give to Livingston as a better celebration. In Livingston we go to the Fourth of July rodeo, they have great vendors and you can watch the fireworks show right from your seat at the rodeo grounds.
In Cody, the rodeo is still fantastic! As we’ve discussed in a couple of recent posts!
However, for whatever reason, in Cody, the fireworks and the rodeo are separately organized. So the rodeo gets done in time for fireworks fans to leave… find their favorite spot to watch fireworks and enjoy! Usually, it’s very dry at this time of year so firefighters are always on hand to put out the inevitable blaze the fireworks will start on the hill below where they light off. Often we’ll stay until the fire is put out just for the fun of it. This year, it poured off and on all afternoon and then again right before it was time for the fireworks display so we actually had a year without lighting the hillside on fire too! The interesting thing is that this year’s fireworks show was nearly twice as big as other years in celebration of 100 years of the Cody Stampede!
How did you celebrate the Fourth? Where is your favorite place to celebrate? If you’re not from the United States what is your favorite celebration or festival in your country? How do you celebrate?
Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!