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A Small Town with a Big Parade:The 49’er Days Parade, Winthrop Washington

The 49'er Days Parade
49’er Parade Winthrop Washington

The irony behind my trip to Winthrop was that it was the entire purpose of my trip to Washington state. It was planned as a overnight trip but morphed in to a three day adventure. As usual I started with something small and blew the trip out into multiple days of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I had an enjoyable time I am just admitting I have a travel addiction.

My friend T (she’ll want to remain anonymous), had recently left our place of employment for grander things and invited me along with her, her husband and their dog to the 49’er Parade in Winthrop. T’s husband, D a former marine, works for the Veterans Association, counseling veterans. The VA was participating in the 49’er Days Parade by driving their Vet Center mobile office and talking to interested folks after the parade.

The 49'er Days Parade
Vet Center Mobile Office

I knew that Winthrop was a small town however once I arrived I was greeted by an enormous amount of people. Not enormous like Times Square in New York City on New Years Eve but a lot of people for a town with a population of 406 (last counted in 2102).  Apparently this parade was popular!

I had arrived about 30 minutes before the parade and needed to find myself a parking spot quickly and in the shade. Boomer would wait in the truck during the parade as it would be too much for him to watch the parade. Knowing Boomer I am sure he would think he would need to join the parade and would most likely be convinced that the parade was about him.

I found a shaded parking spot down the road near the red barn that we would later watch some cowboy poetry at (more about that later). After I made my way back to the town’s main street I found T and I requested a spot in the shade to watch the parade.  I sunburn in a matter of minutes even with sunscreen on.

The 49'er Days Parade
49’er Parade Winthrop Washington

The parade was an eclectic mix of firemen, cowboys, mountain men, even a hot air balloon basket complete with flames and of course the Vet Center truck. The parade ended with the Western Vigilantes putting on a shoot ‘em out show for all of us to enjoy.  Although it was amusing the fake gunfire most likely shaved 5 years off my life each time I heard a pop of the gun!

The 49'er Days Parade
The vigilantes are here!

The rest of the day was full of events throughout the town but T and I perused the surprising large amount of shops that lined Riverside Avenue, where the parade had taken place.  The shops ranged from clothing, home decor to gardening and the emporium.

After D had finished up his duties for the day we all met up for cowboy poetry down at the red barn. We arrived with the show already in progress.  I would recommend getting there early if you want to get a good seat. A good seat to me would have been on the downstairs floor. By the time we had arrived all of the floor seats were taken.  We headed up the stairs to the mezzanine, grabbed some chairs and found ourselves a spot to watch the show. It was a rather toasty location due to the hot day, hence why I recommend trying to get a first floor seat.

The show had a variety of poetry readings and songs. It was an enjoyable time, although slightly overpriced at $10 per person, but still provided some great incite and humor to the cowboy lifestyle.

If you would like to partake in the 49’er Days it usually takes place on the second weekend of May. 2014’s dates are already booked (and I thought I was a planner!) for May 9th to the 11th 2014. There is plenty more to experience than just the parade and the cowboy poetry so be sure to check out their site for all the festivities!

Have you ever been to a small town parade?  What’s your favorite part?  Drop me a note in the comments I would love to hear from you!

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