Ranch celebrates July 4 on July 7
By John Bowler
Not unlike the original Independence Day in Boston, July 4, 1776, that it purported to commemorate, the Crooked River Ranch celebration of 2012, actually held July 7, was marked by a mixture of controversy, confusion and success.
As of Monday, it was still being debated how well it met the objectives set out by the planners and whether it would be repeated in the future when the Fourth of July again occurs mid-week as it did this year.
Holding their annual Buffalo Roast mid-week in 2012 did not appeal to the Ranch Lions Club. They have scheduled it on the Saturday closest to Independence Day for roughly 30 years and did not want to change that pattern of success.
The Buffalo Roast is considered the lynchpin celebration of the holiday by other Ranch organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Artists and Crafters Guild and they schedule their events for Independence Day in tandem with it.
Consequently, last Wednesday, July 4, was just like any other Wednesday on Crooked River Ranch, except employed Ranchers had the holiday off like the rest of the country.
The only visible observance of Independence Day here was the fire department sending a truck and firefighters as usual to the Ranch Chapel parking lot at dusk.
About 75 Ranchers showed up to light off their fireworks -- about half as many as normally do, according to Fire Chief Tim McLaren.
Some Ranchers found the lack of activities last Wednesday a disconcerting departure from the way they have celebrated the country's birthday for as long as they could remember.
A couple of measures of the 2012 event's success are already in: the weather plus the size, organization and overall excellence of the parade. Weatherwise, it was clear, hot and sunny -- ideal for such an event unless you have an aversion to temperatures in the upper 80s.
It was by all measure the largest Independence Day Parade in terms of entries and undoubtedly the best organized. The crowd that viewed it was not commensurate in size, according to veteran parade crowd appraisers.
Parade impresario Julia Randal, who has stopped counting how many Ranch Fourth of July and Christmas parades she has organized and managed, outdid herself again putting this year's parade together and sending it off to be admired by Ranchers lining the route.
She was assisted by a host of volunteers who helped organize entries and then judged the best one in each parade element. The announcer this year was McLaren, who by most accounts was one of the best ever.
Big Dog Saloon's float was again judged to be the best in the parade, winning that prize for the second time in three years. Prizes were awarded to 20 of the parade's 50-plus entries.
They featured pets, vintage automobiles business services and other themes, including the first parade entry ever from the Ranch Homeowners Association. It depicted the many recreational facilities on the Ranch which make it a "great place to hang your hat."
The various organizations that participated in the July 7 event were still counting their receipts and attendance figures by deadline on Monday and talking about having a formal meeting to appraise the day's overall success.
So it is not yet official whether it was worth moving the event to the end of the week instead of honoring the nation's birthday on the actual anniversary of the date it happened. That will be reported later.