Chicken Little once said “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” At Sitka’s annual Fourth of July parade, the sky remained mostly blue, and the only rain — to the dismay of Chicken Little — was poultry.
KCAW’s Katherine Rose reports on why chickens fall from the sky, and other quirky fun on Independence Day in Sitka.
Fourth of July in Sitka is just a bit different than everywhere else. In Sitka, water always falls from the sky. It often rains, but the weather this year was perfectly sunny. Nevertheless, parade goers got drenched all the same.
Sounds of fire trucks
Kids chanting “Water fight! Water fight!”
Two fire trucks pull up on either end of the square on Lincoln Street. They get their hoses ready, and one of them places a red-white-and blue barrel in the middle of the road. Both teams line up, and spray the barrel, like a water tug-of-war, trying to move the barrel to the other team’s side for the win.
Sounds of the water fight
The “water fight” is even more fitting this year. The theme “Sitka, Community of Heroes,” named the Sitka High School basketball team as the parade’s grand marshals. In March, the team helped rescue 11 people from a burning building in Anchorage.
Sound of water hoses
And if it’s not water falling from the sky, it’s something else…
Sound of gunshots
That’s the 9th Infantry with their black powder rifles and pistols. They shoot them off throughout the parade, but they save a few shots for the very end, when in front of Harry Race Pharmacy. And if you look closely, you might notice someone peeking over the roof of the building. That’s Soren White.
“As they pass by I’m hiding up on the roof with a lot of rubber chickens. If you collect one you can go get a milkshake at Harry’s,” said White.
I ask him if kids think it’s like magic, or if they notice him up on the roof. He’s been caught a few times…
“Especially today because I kinda hit a car (haha) but it worked out.”
After a little strategizing, the chicken was retrieved from the top of the truck. And throwing rubber chickens isn’t just some mindless activity. There’s a definite strategy involved…
“You gotta get the arc right because you don’t want to hit anybody,” said White. “Just kinda back off and then arc it so it doesn’t look like I’m actually throwing it.
You’d think these two Sitka-specific activities would be the highlight for many, but for a lot of kids it all goes back to the most important cornerstone of any good parade.
“That we get candy!”
“Throwing candy, that was amazing.”
“Umm, um, well the person who was throwing the hot c’s…hot cheetos.”
And who gave out the best candy?
I think that’s still up for debate, though.
Sounds of parade/music trailing off