Gowrie goes all out for the Fourth

GOWRIE – Las Vegas has nothing on Gowrie.

Just ask Allie Breeden, a Gowrie native who now calls the hot desert city home.

“We almost don’t have parades,” she said, “I have to come back for them, they’re nothing compared to here.”

What Vegas does have plenty of – sunshine – is less to her liking.

She brought along a large red, white and blue umbrella to stay under in the shade.

For the Fourth of July, it’s a required motif.

“Of course,” she said.

While Breeden had her lawn chair and umbrella, across the street, Dennys and Ashley Canto had office chairs.

“We rolled them out of our office,” she said.

They provided a new level of comfort.

“Probably even more so because you’re not working,” he said.

One person who was working, sort of, was Rae Anna Harrison, 16, of Gowrie. Her job was to toss candy and the occasional Frisbee for Marv’s Market Street Grill and Bar.

She’s a veteran.

“I’ve been doing this since I was young,” she said.

She did her first parade when she was 7.

She said she really enjoys everyone smiling along the route.

So who gets the Frisbees?

“Usually people I know or little kids,” she said.

Ben Carlson, 12, of Gowrie, had an important job to do in the parade as well. He was going to drive the family’s John Deere 4020 diesel along the route.

“I’m following the horses,” he said while waiting to get onto the route.

While there were plenty of other tractors in the parade, his was located where it was for a reason. It was pulling a manure spreader.

The annual Gowrie celebration often brings visitors from the surrounding area; Ashley Boughey and Alyssa Carlson came from Humboldt.

They were keeping the tradition of a patriotic motif going as well – each had on a flag-themed shirt.

“We made our shirts,” Boughey said.

The pair were impressed with the number of floats and the missiles raining down from them.

“They can actually throw candy,” Carlson said.

Boughey was a bit taken back by one item being tossed by Home State Bank, of Jefferson.

“I caught a hot dog,” she said.

The cooked, bunned and foil-wrapped treats were a popular item along the route.

For some at the parade, sitting in a favorite spot year after year has become a family tradition.

For others, like Dan Hansen, Randy Dyer and Ben Hansen, tossing water balloons and arming themselves with water fire extinguishers and umbrellas is a tradition.

“We do this every year,” Dan Hansen said.

He said that it began as a defense against area fire-fighters riding by on top of their trucks who would hose them down with various water guns.

The group has a code and rules of engagement.

“We only fire if fired upon,” he said.

The last group they were able to engage was a squad from Moorland.

“They’re good sports,” Hansen said.

They are also unfortunately subject to random attacks from friends, family and secret agents acting on behalf of area fire departments they may have soaked in the past.

One such person, who used a member of the crowd to hide behind, got the better of them.

His tossed water balloon found the mark – Hansen’s lap – where it burst.

The parade is one of the largest in the area, and many, including Matt O’Hearn, of Dayton, consider it an essential part of their Fourth of July celebration.

“Even if I had to walk it would be worth it,” he said.

The day’s celebration also included a carnival in the park, fire department water fights, food vendors and a flea market.