Grand Lake has this super fun two-day event called the Buffalo Barbecue, which just occurred July 16-17. It started in 1948, and back then it lasted for a week and was called Buffalo and Barbecue and Covered Wagon Days. Currently, on Saturday in the Town park there’s great food (barbecued buffalo, of course) and local bands entertain. The parade on Sunday no longer includes covered wagons, but there are still majestic horses, rugged cowboys, flirty dancehall girls, shiny fire trucks and charming floats.
And talking about floats, I entered one this year as a sponsor. Not only did I have a blast coming up with the theme and decorating it, this was the first time I’ve ever walked in a parade (I got in my share of formal queen waves). My nieces and nephews were the real stars, though. They perfectly hammed it up, playing in the float’s mini-house and pretending to catch fish in the mini-lake. I gave the kids the choice of being in the entire parade or not. They all made me proud when they wanted to stick it out to the end, despite what happens in the last block.
The competing bars across the street from each other started it years ago, but it’s way bigger than that now. When the participants near the end of the parade route, they have the choice of veering left. But if they choose to go straight, they know their fate. The parade Marshalls even stand at the ready, double-checking their decision as they approach. Triumphant cheers erupt from the crowd when the brave ones proceed forward . . . and into the massive water fight. Pick-up trucks line the street carrying huge tubs of water and homemade water guns, kids and adults alike attack using supersoakers and water balloons, and frigid streams of water from the business’s hoses crisscross the street. But, it’s not a one-sided brawl.
Upon entering The Wet Zone, the parade participants whip out their concealed weapons. Total mayhem. And my nieces and nephews? They bravely grabbed red solo cups, scooped up water from the kiddie pool and fought back with gusto. Afterwards, the kids begged to do it again next year; after all, they have a one-of-a-kind story to brag about when asked what they did during their summer vacation.