We went up with our friends Natalie and Jack to St. Johns for the 24th of July weekend. She grew up there and they invited us to head back with them for the Holiday.
Now, growing up, I honestly never made the connection that the 24th of July was a big mormon holiday. I never did. Looking back I remember doing things like miniature pioneer treks around the neighborhood when I was in primary at church, but I never associated things like that with the fact that we were celebrating the 24th of July and remembering our pioneer ancestors who bravely trod across the country to find a place to settle and practice freedom of religion.
It wasn't until I was serving as a missionary in Montana, where members in even small, small towns would gather to celebrate the holiday, that I realized the 24th is a big reason to celebrate! They would gather together and play stick ball, wrapping a softball in rabit skin and using an old tree branch for a bat. It was fun.
So, anyhow, we wanted to get out of Mesa (where, admittedly, they do celebrate the day - just not as much as in a small town) for the 24th. and go somewhere where they knew how to do the day right.
It was a week long celebration in St. Johns that the whole town got in on. There was a youth dance and a junior rodeo and all kinds of other things leading up to Saturday. We got there early Saturday and, missing the big community breakfast, made it in time for the Parade! They had a full on parade! I caught a couple pictures of the coolest float I have EVER seen.
Meet Abe Lincoln. He stood up! And then would sit down just in time to miss getting decapitated by the power lines. It was amazing!
The celebrations continues with a big community dinner at the park in town and then a nice program in the highschool auditorium. Following which there was the adults only dance that lasted late into the night.
We stayed for church Sunday and drove back home. Another short trip, but packed full of fun activity.
6 years ago