Parade brings out more than red,white, blue

True colors

Posted: Wednesday, July 05, 2006


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  Blaze Gardiner searches the street for tossed candy at the parade. Photos by Patrice Kohl

The Fred Meyer mascot turns to greet Clark Olsen as he hops past on his pogo stick at Tuesday's Fourth of July Parade in Kenai.

Photos by Patrice Kohl

Locals rebelled the conventional and let their individual colors fly on Independence Day on Tuesday, as they hopped, danced and wheeled themselves through the streets of Kenai.

Although many revelers in this years Fourth of July parade rode, walked or danced behind trucks and cars pulling red, white and blue-decorated trailers, others propelled themselves using some unique self-powered means of locomotion, bringing unusual sights to town.

As the parade geared up to begin, one man prepared to mount what he referred to as a “bodacious” ride, or penny farthing.

Although the 19th century bicycle was invented well before the word bodacious, surely the penny farthing’s inventors would have concurred with Doug Field’s sentiment, had they been able to attend Tuesday’s parade.

Field’s penny farthing, may look hopelessly impractical with its approximately shoulder-high front wheel and basket-ball sized rear wheel. But it also looks impossibly cool, evoking romantic Victorian-era images of woman with cinched waists and men wearing knee-long breeches.

Clark Olsen, 9, of Kenai, also showed off his colorful talents on an old-fashioned, but perhaps slightly more enduring means of locomotion.


Blaze Gardiner searches the street for tossed candy at the parade.

Photos by Patrice Kohl

Olsen, who hopped all over Trading Bay Road on his pogo stick as he waited for the parade to begin, said he hoped to hop the parade from beginning to end. And while hopping an entire parade nonstop might sound like a steep target, Olsen has hopped mind-boggling stretches nonstop before.

“Last summer it was 800 something,” he said referring to his nonstop hop record.

Others shared their locomotive passions with their pets.

Taz, a brown, white and black speckled dog, rode in a milk crate fastened to the back seat of his owner’s Harley Davidson motorcycle during the parade.

Eric Dabney, of Clam Gulch, who rode the motorcycle in the parade with the Alaska Chapter of the Hog Group, a group of Harley Davidson owning motorcyclists, said his dog is as passionate about motorcycle riding as he is.

“I should have named her Visa, because I can’t leave home without her,” he said. “If I even pull the bike out she’ll lay beside that bike thinking I’ll take it somewhere.”

Some people welcomed the parade as an opportunity to step out of the conventional mold with music and fashion.

Steve Adams, of Kenai, wore a plaid kilt and played bagpipes during the parade for the Kenai Senior Citizens Center. But Adams said he does not reserve his fashion rebellions for Independence Day.

He said he used to wear off-the wall ties where he works at the post office until he was asked to stop.

However, Adams said he has not yet relinquished his fashion independence. Instead de-mands that he not wear his ties to work, have steered his fashion statements in a new direction.

“I’m the infamous tie guy and the future infamous suspender guy,” he said. “I don’t wear solid colors.”

While the parade bustled with people eager to flash their individual colors to celebrate their nation’s independence, others arrived eager to just watch the spectacle and dive for candy in the streets.

Julie Gardiner, said her 5-year-old daughter, Blaze, and 2-year-old daughter, Misty, have been waiting excitedly for the parade since the moment they heard about it.

“The kids absolutely love it,” Gardiner said. “Seeing all the kids and all of the animals ... and, of course, the candy.”

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