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).
Red, white and blue
Flags hang all around the town, making for a great photo opp for all.
Grab your seat early
Even the youngest kids take their places early waiting for the water battles to come.
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.
Honor the color guard
Like most July 4th parades, this one too starts on a serious note with a color guard.
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).
American girls and dolls
Everybody can march, as did these three friends decked out in red, white and blue with their American Girl dolls.
Flags for all
Don’t have a flag to wave? No problem. We have some for everybody.
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).
Say hi to Margie
Tossing candy and waving to friends and family.
Well protected for water hijinks
When you bring an old Army truck to a water fight, you know it’s serious.
Tossing flowers, playing tunes
Tossing flowers, not water balloons, while towing a cart with a guitar-playing cowboy.
Antique cars on parade
Hold your fire when the old cars roll past.
Antique snow plow
Hmm, wonder if this still sees use up here in the Sierra Nevada at 3,100 feet?
CalFire is all grins and giggles
Here comes a real SUPER super soaker. Get ready to get wet on a hot day.
No holding back with CalFire
The fire fighters were dripping from their eyelashes and toes…and loving it.
But they fight back
You think they just take it? Heck no! Run for your life!
Not just for kids
The adults get really serious about their super-soaking blasters.
CalFire, Alta Station
The little ones are treated well and even allowed to hold the fire hose sometimes.
You want it? You got it!
Full blast for those who really want it.
Between battles it’s important to refill your weapons quickly.
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.
Lovin’ it! See you next year.