By Josiah Clark
For the last ten years, the Elkland Art Center has hosted the Liberty Parade in celebration of Independence Day: a vibrant expression of the High Country’s strong community spirit presented through elaborate and colorful costumes, props and giant puppets.
The parade took place on a field at the corner of Highway 194 and Railroad Grade Road in Todd, attracting 350-450 people.
This year’s theme was “Justice for All.” The parade featured giant puppets called the “Winds of Change,” which represented “the East and West Winds,” and “bringing new life and inspiration for all.”
According to Martha Enzmann, the Artistic Director for the Elkland Art Center, the theme “Justice for All” was chosen and developed after community meetings and much conversation.
She said, “We were studying what justice is and trying to examine how we could get people inspired. The words we chose were: compassion, equality, communication and gratitude.”
The Liberty Parade began after staff from the Elkland Art Center visited the popular May Day parade in Minneapolis, MN., and got the idea to try and organize the local community in Todd for a colorful parade of their own.
Each year, the Liberty Parade features elaborate and imaginative costumes and puppets. This year was no exception.
Enzmann said, “We encourage responsible environmental stewardship as part and portion of our liberty. We educate people about the environment by giving them a chance to ‘become’ the environment using giant parade puppets, representational water, native fish, threatened salamanders and turtles.”
Just after 11 a.m., hundreds of costumed participants began the three-block, half-mile march through downtown Todd to Cook Memorial Park, where there was music, food and a celebration of the beautiful surrounding nature.
Local blues masters The King Bees performed, and home-cooked Latin food was served to eager participants.
Although many were worried that the parade would get rained out, the conditions couldn’t have been better, and this year’s Liberty Parade was considered a great success.
“We consider it a success when the parade looks beautiful and people are having a wonderful time,” said Enzmann.
For more information about the Elkland Art Center, call 336-877-5016 or visit their website.
See some photos below from this year’s Liberty Parade in Todd.
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