Thursday, July 14, 2011

Livingston Round Up Weekend - 2011

We LOVE 4th of July in Montana - particularly Livingston.  It is truly the most idyllic, wonderful place to be during the 4th of July weekend.  The entire weekend is filled with small-town charm, hospitality, cuteness, and classic American fun.   

Saturday the 2nd, the entire state seems to show up in town for our parade.  It's nothing particularly special- it's a parade - horses, Shriners, clowns, beauty queens, locals advertising their businesses or strange talents.  But in Livingston, it always to have an extra "flair."  I still can't put my finger on it, but it's wonderful and I don't ever want it to change.

We started that day with a walk through the Art Festival - hundreds of artists and crafters selling their beautiful things.  We strolled up and down the main streets which were lined with empty camp and patio chairs - waiting for people to fill them for the Parade.  At 5:30am that morning I had my alarm set to run down to put our chairs out, but my sweet (and obviously carzy) friend Laurie had already been down there to set hers up and was worried we wouldn't get our special spot next to them, so she called me before my alarm had gone off and come up to the house to grab our chairs and get them down there!  Can you say "Parade Excitement!"  Thank goodness for Laurie's OCD and punctuality, because by 6am we would have lost our perfect parade viewing spot. 

After our Art Festival shopping we headed over to our Bank where they had some music playing, giving away complimentary hot dogs and ice cream (so amazingly small town).   It was mandatory naps before the Parade and I needed time to carefully mix 1 Nalgene and 2 mason jars full of a strawberry stoli / cranberry drink (not all for me) and we were set.  We met up with more friends at Mike and Laurie's for pre-parade fun and we all made our way to our reserved seats.  

ice cream with Nona and Jim Pa at the Bank's customer appreciation celebration

Summer dress, ice cream on her face, boots ... So American and SO happy!

Matine and her entourage of boys walking to the Parade .. We are in SO much trouble. 

Can you say, "we love Montana!"

Jacqueline and Grif found us to say hi!

Matine waving furiously at Miss Rodeo Montana!

Every time we looked over, Mattie had her hand gently resting on Logan's back... You know, just making sure you never forget that I love you .... Forever.

God Bless America!
Her loot of candy and her man.

Our posse - taking up most of the corner near the Murray.

A highlight of the Parade was the vintage "Rangerettes" from Park High.  The "older" gals recreated their outfits and even got their boots out to do routine's down the street - there were SO many of them!

Just love this stance.

Cool horses and ceremonial garb.

Occasionally her hand drifted lower  .... Aghem.

The great thing about Livingston is you know half the people in the parade!  Hi O'Connor Family!

Lucas and Levia watching with us.

So, after an eventful (and always LONG) Parade, Mattie went home with Nona and JimPa and I hit a Democratic Party After-Party that some friends host each year - mixed and mingled and then happily played the Third Wheel and enjoyed a Livingston Saturday night with Brian and Sally.   We did dinner at the 2nd Street Bistro and people watched at the Murray Bar - you NEVER know what you might see on this weekend and I wasn't about to miss out!

Sunday night we went to the Rodeo with Nona and JimPa, Madeleine and boys, Melynda, Henry and boys ... Mattie couldn't stop asking about the horses and bulls and was THRILLED to wear her horse dress and cowboy boots again.  When I put on my boots, buckle and hat - boy - she was pumped.  She loved it and could barely sit still (I have the bruises on my thighs to prove it).   "More bulls!" she screamed for most of the night.  She was in awe of the fireworks and she kept telling me, "momma, I like it!" as they went off in the air.  At one point she grabbed my face by each cheek and squeezed hard and made me look her directly in the eyes as she emphatically said, "momma, I REALLY LOVE IT!"  Between that, the look on her face the entire night, all the laughs I had with my sweet friends, and the soundtrack of patriotic music they play as the fireworks go off with the backdrop of the mountains - I was, as always, a weeping pile of mush and feeling SO proud to be an American!

Crazy moms trying to wrangle children at at Rodeo - not sure which is harder work - bull riding or toddlers in bleachers .....

Look over there, JimPa!  Horses, bulls, cowboys- this gal loved it all!

Melynda, Finn, Logan Rogers, Anders, (and Henry's hand)

Must wear hat!
Ok, and MELYNDA is a MUCH better blogger than I and took some terrific pics of Rodeo Night and has some good descriptions fo the fun ... Check out her blog post and pics HERE on her blog.

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