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Bellevue Labor Day Parade Sports Tootsie Roll Mystery
Shon and Melissa Gerard drive an antique tractor down Main Street.
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Tuesday, September 5, 2023


Where’s Agatha Christie and Hercules Poirot when you need them?

A top-notch sleuth would have been welcome at Bellevue’s Labor Day Parade to solve the mystery of the naked Tootsie Rolls.

Dozens or perhaps hundreds of Tootsie Rolls—always a star in Bellevue’s candy parade—did not make it into the tummies of youngsters lining Main Street this year. The reason: the Tootsie Rolls seemed to explode out of their wrappers as they were being thrown from floats.

Members of the Old Frontier Gang still haunt the streets of the Wood River Valley come parade time.

The result: naked Tootsie Rolls lying in the streets as their wrapping papers rolled down the street pushed by a gentle breeze.

It looked like some of the three-inch long candy rolls may have been cut in half—that might have been the reason they came unhinged. But that certainly wasn’t the case for all of them.

Fortunately, youngsters largely seemed to ignore the mystery of the unwrapped Tootsie Rolls as they scrambled for Twizzlers, Laffy Taffy and even some M&Ms thrown by DL Evans bankers.

Hundreds of youngsters and their families lined the mile-long route bags and buckets in hand as the Bellevue Labor Day Parade dodged forecasted rain, just as the Wagon Days parade, Gallery Walk,  Reckless Kelly concert and Sun Valley ice show had earlier.

Members of the Blaine County Museum Heritage Court rode in a wagon provided by the Susie Q Ranch.

Among those taking part was Shon and Melissa Gerard, riding the 1946 Farmall M tractor they had bought from Gary Bradshaw.

Bradshaw, now 82 and still climbing Mt. Borah, built a forklift for the tractor and the Gerards used it to pick up and move the 200 cords of wood they got this summer from the Bald Mountain project to install  new Challenger and Flying Squirrel lifts.

Shon, whose family homesteaded in Shoshone, started collecting and distributing firewood as a hobby but it’s become more than a hobby. And driving the tractor has been a dream come true as he feels like he’s driving a Tonka truck, said Melissa.

“The tractor has never had a day off in its life,” she said. “It’s not a race horse—it’s a workhorse. But it rides so smooth. And even our kids began driving it when they were in their teen. Everything we have at  Old Glory Firewood on Glendale Road is antique and it works.”

Sirens and smiles filled the first 15 minutes of the parade.

The Hurtado family, whose H & H Property Development does construction, manages property and cleans 300 homes in the valley, showed up in a big way as they always do for the Hailey and Bellevue, parades riding in Razr ATVs and trucks.

“We’re a family-owned business and it’s important for us to give back, be part of the community,”
 said Carlos Hurtado.

“And I like to throw candy,” added 9-year-old Karla Hurtado, accompanied by her mother Angelia, brother Joe and sister Kate.

Having the community’s back is also the reason DL Evans showed up, said Sandra Ehrmantraut: “We’re  the only local bank in town. This is a chance for us to get to see our community.”

A pack horse carrying a chain saw shows spectators how much of the trail work gets done in the Sun Valley area.

Several motorcyclists with the Brotherhood United Motorcycle Association, which raises money to support veterans, took part, as did the Old Frontier Gang, which has been riding a Yellowstone Stagecoach in the parade for 50-some years.

Eventually, the parade and the candy throwing came to an end, giving way to a long parade of RVs and long trailers moving down Main Street at parade speed as they made their way home from the mountains.

Hundreds of families crowded into Bellevue Memorial Park where they purchased raffle tickets to help the Bellevue Marshall’s office raise money to purchase new equipment. They bought cotton candy to support the Bellevue Library and they noshed on umpteen different kinds of tacos while listening to Dr. Tom Archie’s Doghaus and other bands.

“We love the Bellevue parade,” said Karl Uri. “It brings the whole community together.”


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