Frogs, furs and fun on the Fourth | AspenTimes.com

Frogs, furs and fun on the Fourth

Chad Abraham

The Wardlaw Farms "float" brings up the rear of the parade. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

Before man were amphibians.As in evolution, a frog proceeded men in Monday’s Fourth of July parade down Main Street. His nickname is actually Froggie, of recreational softball fame, and he unofficially kicked off the procession around noon, silently gliding by the intersection of Monarch and Main.

He was soon taken over by the staccato rumble of Harleys, including one maniacal-looking rider who had an animal’s skull on a post to the rear of his hog, which was replete with antler racks and furs.A person halfheartedly tossed candy to children on the sides of Main Street, and some of the treats ended up in the road, leaving the young ones in a quandary: Should they jump out and risk getting run down by someone out of “Mad Max” for the tasty reward? Panicked children waffled back and forth, with some darting out and others heading the other way.And so began Aspen’s parade.

Just getting to the venue proved interesting as a 30-minute traffic jam brought vehicles to a stop between Buttermilk and the airport. It made the scramble for parking more intense. Luckily, the parking rules were suspended, more or less, for the day, said Ginny Stewart of the Aspen Parking Department.She was quietly sitting alone in a tiny but dreaded enforcement vehicle in front of Carl’s on Monarch. Stewart said the Fourth of July in Aspen brings out people’s innovative parking skills.”They’re very creative this time of year. [They] park on every corner, every place where they’re not supposed to park: alleys, block people’s driveways,” she said.

The department lets up a bit on its Draconian enforcement on holidays, Stewart said. “We don’t ticket unless there are complaints. We did have to tow a few cars this morning because they were in the parade route.”And the show must go on.Taking advantage of the celebration was a group of young men practicing that age-old Americanism of raising capital.

Charles Cover, James Pardee, Daniel Doremus and Milo Stark, all 13, stood in front of the Amoco gas station near the start of the parade, hawking lemonade and Popsicles to earn money for a trip to Bariloche, Argentina. Plastic Ducky Derby fowl were also available from the foursome.Business was pretty good, but they were happiest with the contents of the tip cup.Mike Nakagawa, of Aspen, had a tip for the throngs: Buy a hybrid vehicle, said his signs. But his display method, an electric toy Hummer, was a little odd. He said it was an homage to “the people who drive the big SUVs and Hummers in town and then you see them driving little mopeds the next day.”

The contradictions continued. Nakagawa pointed to the back of the mini-Hummer, where a sign read “My other car is a gas guzzler.””Because that’s our car right there,” nodding at a large SUV nearby. So what’s the deal, are you for big SUVs or hybrids? “To tell you the truth, I think the next car I buy is going to be a hybrid.”Doing a brisk business near the parade route Monday was McStorlie’s Pub. Bartender Randy Sigtermans said the day was off to a good start and he was expecting “a very busy lunch.”

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Tiana Laurence was behind the counter at the Independence Square Lodge, a bed-and-breakfast on Galena Street. She said the lodge had been booked solid for a week before the Fourth of July.”Everybody likes a parade,” she said.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com