Dutch Flat 4th of July

A parade with water hijinks and loads of fun!

Historic Dutch Flat

Wild and woolly during its Gold Rush days, California’s town of Dutch Flat with a population today of about 200 (“if everybody’s home,” a local adds) turns pretty wild again on July 4th. The community’s annual parade loops around town, attracting moms, dogs, kids, dolls, old cars, and community leaders. But it’s the water hijinks during the morning’s festivities that brings out the crowds.

On the sidelines, kids and adults alike man their stations with serious water-fight artillery. Forget wimpy squirt guns. Think water blasters, super soakers and buckets, all at the ready to drench anybody and everybody (although the water-ready soldiers respect the likes of cameras, innocent bystanders, old cars, the grand marshal and color guard). And wait till the local CalFire station’s two fire trucks roll past with the granddaddy of super soaker hoses! Says another local preparing for battle, “We take our water fights very seriously here.”

Nobody seems to know when and how the water-fight tradition began, but it has been many decades, if not longer. Cruise through the photo gallery below to get a feel for the Sierra Nevada small town fun and community enjoying a Dutch Flat 4th of July!  (click on each image to open in Lightbox).

Flags hang all around the town, making for a great photo opp for all.

Red, white and blue

Flags hang all around the town, making for a great photo opp for all.

Even the youngest kids take their places early waiting for the water battles to come.

Grab your seat early

Even the youngest kids take their places early waiting for the water battles to come.

Originally opened in 1852 the Dutch Flat Hotel was renovated and reopened as a retreat, conference center and B&B in the last decade.

Kicked back at Dutch Flat Hotel

Originally opened in 1852 the hotel was renovated and reopened as a retreat, conference center and B&B in the last decade.

He looked threatening but knew better than to take out an innocent camerawoman.

Hands up!

He looked threatening but knew better than to take out an innocent camerawoman.

Like most July 4th parades, the Dutch Flat 4th of July parade starts on a serious note with a color guard - and no one sprays water on them out of respect!

Honor the color guard

Like most July 4th parades, this one too starts on a serious note with a color guard.

The grand marshal waves his hat at everybody for two full loops through town (since one loop wouldn’t be long enough).

Howdy, grand marshal

The grand marshal waves his hat at everybody for two full loops through town (since one loop wouldn’t be long enough).

Everybody can march, as did these three friends decked out in red, white and blue with their American Girl dolls.

American girls and dolls

Everybody can march, as did these three friends decked out in red, white and blue with their American Girl dolls.

Don’t have a flag to wave? No problem. We have some for everybody.

Flags for all

Don’t have a flag to wave? No problem. We have some for everybody.

Margie Jager gets a ride in the parade to celebrate her 80 years (with most of those in Dutch Flat).

A life in Dutch Flat

Margie Jager gets a ride in the parade to celebrate her 80 years (with most of those in Dutch Flat).

Tossing candy and waving to friends and family.

Say hi to Margie

Tossing candy and waving to friends and family.

When you bring an old Army truck to the Dutch Flat 4th of July water fight, you know it’s serious.

Well protected for water hijinks

When you bring an old Army truck to a water fight, you know it’s serious.

Tossing flowers, not water balloons (which are prohibited), while towing a cart with a guitar-playing cowboy.

Tossing flowers, playing tunes

Tossing flowers, not water balloons, while towing a cart with a guitar-playing cowboy.

Hold your water guns and super-soaker fire when the old cars roll past.

Antique cars on parade

Hold your fire when the old cars roll past.

Hmm, wonder if this still sees use up here in the Sierra Nevada at 3,100 feet?

Antique snow plow

Hmm, wonder if this still sees use up here in the Sierra Nevada at 3,100 feet?

Here comes a real SUPER super soaker. Get ready to get wet on a hot day.

CalFire is all grins and giggles

Here comes a real SUPER super soaker. Get ready to get wet on a hot day.

The fire fighters were dripping from their eyelashes and toes…and loving it.

No holding back with CalFire

The fire fighters were dripping from their eyelashes and toes…and loving it.

You think the fire fighters just take it? Heck no! Run for your life!

But they fight back

You think they just take it? Heck no! Run for your life!

The adults in Dutch Flat get really serious about their super-soaking blasters.

Not just for kids

The adults get really serious about their super-soaking blasters.

The little ones are treated well and even allowed to hold the fire hose sometimes.

CalFire, Alta Station

The little ones are treated well and even allowed to hold the fire hose sometimes.

Full blast for those who really want it.

You want it? You got it!

Full blast for those who really want it.

Between water fight battles at the Dutch Flat 4th of July parade, it’s important to refill your weapons quickly.

Sideline craziness

Between battles it’s important to refill your weapons quickly.

Riding on some floats means you will likely become a target for water.

Hit me if you can

Riding on some floats means you will likely become a target for water.

Waving the colors for the onlookers as the first loop finishes up.

Star-spangled banner

Waving the colors for the onlookers as the first loop finishes up.

Lovin’ it! See you next year at the Dutch Flat 4th of July parade -- get your super-soakers ready.

Thumbs up

Lovin’ it! See you next year.