July in Jackson Hole means the snow has finally begun to melt, the sun is (usually) out, and red, white and blue abounds.
At least, come Fourth of July. The day of festivities begins with a pancake breakfast and ends with a colorful sky display, but sandwiched between the two is the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce parade.
The route, which starts on Snow King Avenue and Glenwood Street and snakes through the streets toward Town Square, brings a variety of organizations to the streets, most tossing goodies, stickers or, in the case of a few floats, fruits and veggies, to eager onlookers waving American flags.
The usual patriotic sights abounded — think Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty outfits — as did superhero getups, tutus and animal costumes. The unmistakable markers of the West — cowboy boots and hats, covered wagons and, a big draw for the crowd, horses — also made it into the parade route.
The Odyniec family, visiting from Berkeley, California, posted up to see the scene from a spot on Glenwood Street. Eight-year-old Anna Odyniec appreciated “all the cool things” in the parade but called special attention to the horses.
“I just like them because they are very cool,” she said, “and I like watching them because I don’t see as many horses in California.”
The four-legged creatures — seen alongside several floats but also ridden by the Jackson Hole Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit, several Teton County sheriff’s officers, and 2019 rodeo royalty — were also an exciting sight for Anna’s 6-year-old brother, Kuba.
Her 10-year-old sister, Miriam, named the Girl Scouts float as her favorite piece of the parade, though she admits she’s partial to the Scouts because she is one herself.
Other sights on the route included Chewbacca on roller skates, and the Teton Board of Realtors’ take on “Game of Thrones” — Game of Homes. The float with its castle rumbled along with a Daenerys Targaryen look-alike in tow.
Showcasing artwork alongside patriotic spirit, the Wilcox Gallery float paraded a large bronze eagle statue through the streets, while flat-hat-clad Grand Teton National Park rangers smiled and waved. Smokey Bear made an appearance as a mascot for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and a bear pelt was strewn over the hood of a Jeep, part of a long line of Jeeps and classic cars that wheeled through the streets.
While the parade is more about the holiday spirit than “winners,” judges did name the top floats as they passed the grandstand on Town Square.
In first place: Friends of Scouts.
The Base Camp float, which charmed the crowd with dozens of kids on tiny inflatable horses, took second.
In third was the Senior Center of Jackson Hole, with seniors in sparkly attire dancing their patriotic hearts out.