Wonderful Memories of a Unique Community Event

Each community has its own quirks. I’ve lived where bicycles had right-of-way, where hogs and corn filled fields more than houses did, and where logging was honored every year at the fourth of July. However, for the last twenty-four years, I’ve lived on the Southern Oregon Coast. This is a place where the ocean rules and family and friends care deeply about each other. One of the first things I observed about the area happened before I even moved here. I was visiting and walked into the local market to see several people from the church I had just attended. I loved the fact I could see people I knew in common everyday places.

Yesterday celebrated another Fourth of July Jubilee. While watching the parade, milling around before the fireworks, and enjoying the show, I realized I experience something unique every year. Small towns often bear the brunt of jokes or are put down, but there are some things small towns have that larger cities can’t touch.

Parade Memories

The Port Orford 4th of July parade is a constant in our family, and there have been very few times we’ve missed it, even if we did miss the fireworks. I shared photos of a memorable parade two years ago. The thing that makes the parade so memorable is how often our own kids are able to be in it. In fact, I used my own experiences in an upcoming fantasy trilogy.

“Are either of you going to be in the Fourth of July parade?” Cherise asked, changing the subject.

I nodded. School sports wanted a float, and I’d agreed.

“Carl wants me to be on the crab shack float,” Will said, indicating the owner of the business. “I get to throw candy from the boat.”

“Sounds fun,” I said. “I’m just walking the parade route. What about you, Cherise?”

She shook her head. “Nope, not me. I get to chase candy. Maybe Chace will keep me company.”

~Myrtle Beach Adventure by Kandi J Wyatt

My son in the Cape Blanco Soccer Club float inspired the main character’s part in the parade.

As for the candy mentioned, my twenty-year-old son yesterday filled his hood with everything from Tootsie Rolls to chocolate coins and Starbursts. We live in an area where it’s still okay to throw candy out during a parade.

Meeting everyone and their dog

The phrase quite literally applies. I’d never thought anything about it before, until one 4th of July at the parade I began to notice the amount of dogs there. Yesterday, my fifteen-year-old became acutely aware of every single dog because he tried to walk a sheep through the parade route with dogs barking and scaring his sheep.

(Once the 4th of July arrived, our characters enjoy a dingy race, after the race they walk uptown.)


We hadn’t been able to get lunch yet; so, we headed back up to the square where they had hamburgers and hot dogs for sale. Once we made it through the line, and had greeted everyone from school and those who had known us all our lives, we headed back to the beach to eat. The weather was perfect. I couldn’t remember a Fourth of July in my fourteen years that had not been windy. The beach was crowded with people in the water and on the sand. The volleyball tournament started shortly after we sat down. We enjoyed watching while we ate.

~Myrtle Beach Adventure by Kandi J Wyatt

puppy and parade

Fireworks up close and personal

We live in a town small enough to not have their own fireworks display. So we can either head north or south to the next town. Last year we decided to go north thirteen miles to watch the fireworks instead of heading south. I realized for the first time how unique our normal experience of literally feeling the reverberation of the titanium charged fireworks is. It didn’t seem right to watch fireworks and not hear the swoosh as they shot up into the air or experience the sensation that the sparks are going to fall down on you. This does come with a price; we bundle up in stocking caps, blankets, and winter jackets to watch the show on the hill overlooking the beach.

By the time people gathered on the beach and the dune behind it to watch the fireworks, we had met up with my folks and Karis. Mom had brought several blankets and sweatshirts for us to wear. Any other year and I would have begged to have both, but this summer, I didn’t need either of them. We all commented on how strange it was.

~Myrtle Beach Adventure by Kandi J Wyatt

Fireworks 7-4-11

When we could actually watch the show from the beach like I depicted in the story, we’d often get to see the sparks fizzle out in the water.

I’d love to hear about a community event that you cherish. Is there a special time when everyone gets together and celebrates or just enjoys being together? Let me know in the comments.

What's your take?