Politicians and Progress

A couple days ago, Soldotna celebrated the state’s first Ted Stevens Day, which coincided with the annual Progress Day parade.  These days, the voting masses are fickle with their senators and representatives, so I’d think many politicians might like to examine Steven’s legacy and figure out how they, too, might ensure for themselves a post-mortem statue looking over their state’s prettiest river.

I’m usually suspicious of people with more than one private aircraft, but there seems to be little debate about the positive impact Stevens had on Alaska. From what I can tell, Stevens was the right guy in the right place at the right time. How many politicians get to civilize a state one-third the size of its country? He seemed to have a remarkable understanding of how politics and economies and his state’s natural resources might benefit each other.

Whew. Made it through the paragraph on politics: now, Progress Day! Not only does a Progress Day parade sound like that ride at Disney World with all the humanoids and futuristic toasters, but it was so perfectly, satisfyingly small town. There were dogs in costumes, juggling mayoral candidates, old Ford trucks, and a triple-decker unicyclist.

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Although it’s not the most vivid name for a parade, Progress Day is an ingenious concept. All the local businesses—for profit and not—put together a float and a few bags of candy, and since a town is nothing if not its business, they are pretty much guaranteed a sidewalk full of people. All of us who weren’t in the parade knew someone who was.

Like this guy:

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Even Clara put down her cell phone long enough to ask if the real fire truck could be her next bath toy:

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There were lots of American flags, Tootsie Rolls, Corvettes, and trains converted to wheels:

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A highlight was the Shriner’s go-kart field show. These guys were turning out some wicked figure-eights:

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And, I’m pretty sure he isn’t a Shriner. I think he crashed the show, but no one seemed to mind.

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