Fourth Of July Weekend

Spectators (including kids waiting for candy!) line Beltrami Avenue Northwest as the Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival Grand Parade begins Sunday afternoon.

The Fourth of July weekend, as always, was a busy one for Bemidji, with the Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival brightening up the waterfront and downtown for five days.

I was a little bored amidst all the excitement, so I borrowed my 7-year-old granddaughter, Jada, for the weekend. She went to the Bemidji carnival Friday night, then drove to Walker Saturday for their Fourth of July parade and family games (it’s been years since I’ve seen things like sack races and egg toss for both kids and adults).

They weren’t selling armbands at the carnival Saturday, so we skipped it and went swimming at Diamond Point Park instead until fireworks time, when we headed over to the waterfront park. I couldn’t resist buying a couple of Star Wars-themed light-up swords (she chose Luke Skywalker blue and Darth Vader red), after noting how many other kids had them. It was a beautiful night for fireworks, and as always, I was happy I could just walk four blocks home afterward.

We made three trips to Big Al’s Frybread during the carnival, getting cinnamon sugar frybread for Jada and plain for me with a touch of salt. We ended up making some of our own at home with some frozen bread dough I had. Over the whole weekend, I never ended up having a corn dog, which is unheard of for me. I had a chance Sunday but opted for a burger instead.

On Sunday, we went to the Grand Parade with Bethany from work and her almost-1-year-old daughter, Lola, who didn’t like much of anything. Jada, of course, was mainly concerned with the candy.

Frankly, I find the candy thing a little annoying. I don’t mind that it exists, but the kids are obsessed with it to the point that they barely notice the floats. I suggested that maybe they should hold the candy to the end and then just have a dump truck ready in a parking lot drop a yard of candy and let the kids go nuts. :)

After the Bemidji parade, we picked up my mom in Erskine and hurried over to Fertile for the Polk County Fair, which I grew up on when I was a kid in Erskine. We got there around 4:30 and rode until our second fireworks of the weekend, which were pretty awesome.


"Awesome!!!" (Jada’s favorite word for carnival rides or anything that combines fun with a bit of fear)

Jada definitely got her (er, MY) money’s worth of carnival rides, as she went on 35 rides Friday in Bemidji and 32 rides Sunday in Fertile. She went on pretty much everything there was except the Kamikaze; she went on rides that made me nervous to watch. The only ride I went on with her was the ferris wheel, which is basically the only ride I ever go on. Jada isn’t big on heights, so she was a little nervous, but in a fun, giddy way.

The ferris wheel is so cool; you can see the whole carnival from above, all the tiny people, and even look over the trees past the city. And we got to stop at the very top for a while while they were unloading. That’s the best part, just sitting there at the highest point for miles around. (You sure can tell it’s a small town!)