Independence Day

Celebrating 4th of July, Mendo style

Photo courtesy of Visit Mendocino

Photo courtesy of Visit Mendocino

Oh man. Boy howdy. If you weren’t in the historical village of Mendocino yesterday at noon, you missed out on one of the best sights of the year! The population swelled to more than double its total size. Most of the main streets were closed to traffic. Sidewalks, balconies, the occasional lawn or parking lot, and everywhichwhere was packed solid. Wherever they could, people found a spot to sit, stand, or run around (the last of which most of those under 10 years old were doing). The air was humming with energy and anticipation. And over it all wafted the smell of BBQ like a 4th of July benediction.

Just a couple minutes after high noon, the show started with a howl. Or more precisely, a couple of screaming sirens. The oldest of the trucks from the extremely proud local volunteer fire fighters began the big parade, a very loud tradition they look forward to every year. The cavalcade continued for the next hour with everything from belly dancers to artsy cars to a Latin drumming group to little league footballers. There were of course the folks running for public office who graciously waved from the back of motorcycles, as well as more than one political group marching along with their signs. And it wouldn’t have been a complete day without the enormous Clifford the Big Red dog float from Village Veterinary that “pees” on bystanders when it lifts its mechanical leg. It was all in all a cheerful, hearty hometown celebration of our nation.

(This parade has been one of Mendocino’s biggest events of the year ever since the late 1800s, when we were just a logging outpost on the edge of the world. Pretty awesome.)

The fun continued past just the parade too. There were community BBQ’s and outdoor music most of the day yesterday at different spots around the village. Flynn Creek Circus set up their vintage big top in the baseball field for shows going through Saturday the 6th (you really need to go check out this all-human circus, by the way!).

Up in Fort Bragg, the party goes on Saturday with The World’s Largest Salmon BBQ down in Noyo Harbor 11:00am – 6:00pm. This annual fundraiser for salmon restoration is a blast, with live music, heaping plates of food, local beer and wine, and ice cream from Cowlick’s Ice Cream just down the street.

The big finale comes at sundown on Saturday, when Fort Bragg puts on their fireworks display. All the walking paths along Todds Point and Noyo Harbor are jam packed with revelers, and cars are double parked all over the place as everyone tries to get the best spot to view the show. Quite the community event.

You should definitely try to make it to the remaining days of Mendocino’s Independence Day festivities. If you didn’t manage to plan your visit in time this year, come in 2020! And plan ahead, as this is one of the most popular weekends of the year, with rooms getting snagged a good couple of months ahead of time.

We’ll see you next 4th!