Thursday, August 13, 2020
Pandemic Parade Short But Sweet Despite Dropouts
Diesel Ward surrounded himself and his adult trike with American flags.
Sunday, July 5, 2020


Hailey’s Days of the Old West Fourth of July Parade may have been shorter this year. And it may have lacked a few of the crowd favorites, such as horses and Road Apple counters.

But nothing could squelch the enthusiasm of Diesel Ward, a sophomore at Wood River High School.

“I love my nation, which is celebrating its 244th birthday. I love the parade. I love the rodeo and I love fireworks most of all,” he proclaimed from behind the star-spangled sunglasses he was wearing atop his decorated “Diesel USA” three-wheeler.

Robin and Mike Crotty forgot to stock pretzels and peanuts on the maiden flight of their new Mazda Miati.

Then the young man with autism proceeded to rattle off the names of all the presidents in 48 seconds—quite the feat considering the national record is 60 seconds, according to his father Billy Ward.

It may have been difficult for anyone to match Diesel Ward’s enthusiasm. But spirits were high as Hailey threw a pandemic parade that weaved through the residential neighborhood of Hailey in order to allow spectators to socially distance.

And, just to show that some rituals never die, some people along Quigley Road and other streets set their viewing chairs out Friday morning, even though there was no real need to stake their claim in their own yards.

Seventy-seven vehicles participated, including at least a dozen and a half fire engines and patrol cars. It exceeded The Chamber’s expectations since some parade participants dropped out after Hailey imposed a mandatory face mask ordinance.

The Sawtooth Rangers Days of the Oldest West Rodeo was cancelled because of the pandemic. But that didn’t stop the rodeo queens and ambassadors from doing their wave.

There were countless bicycles.

“Despite everything, it’s been crazy busy in the valley,” said Mike McKenna, director of The Chamber. “Ketchum business people, like Terry Ring of Silver Creek Outfitters, are telling me they’re having the biggest Fourth of July week they’ve ever had.”

Mike and Robin Crotty attached a propeller to the front of their new Mazda Matia and affixed wings across the trunk. Then they donned headphones so they could talk with one another over the roar of the emergency vehicle sirens.

“I imagine this vehicle could roar like a jet, but I’ll never drive it that fast,” said Mike Crotty.

Brooke and Kaidyn Vagias honored health care and essential workers by outfitting their car with a unicorn horn, signifying unicorns’ mythical prowess.

Candy lovers were not disappointed. At least two of the parade participants let it fly. Elbie’s Bucking Bronco was there as it has been at many of the parades.

And Hailey’s rodeo queens got a chance to do the rodeo wave, albeit from the back of a pickup truck instead of horseback.

“It’s great to have a family-friendly event where we’re socially together though physically distant,” said Kiki Tidwell, who outfitted her electric car in red, white and blue bunting.

Dewey Casimiri and Debbie Bierk, longtime volunteers for the Sun Valley Music Festival, had just arrived back in town from the Phoenix area and Mexico where they spend winter. And they were happy to stake out a place in the shade of a small tree.

Dozens of bicyclists reveled in taking part in the pandemic parade.

“We would be here whether the parade is on Main Street or out here on Fox Acres Road,” said Bierk.

“We just love Sun Valley. Idaho is the greatest state and Sun Valley is the greatest place to be in America,” said Casimiri.

“It’s a little slice of Americana, added Bierk. “There’s no reason to feel threatened here, even with everything that’s going on elsewhere.”


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