It was a good day. No breaking news or political scoops in this post, just some photos and brief commentary on the parade in Hamilton that kicks off the Ravalli County Fair, and a pithy anecdote at the end. Here’s a brief respite from nasty news that plagues us day-after-day.
Near perfect weather: a cool, sunny morning with only minor forest fire haze shrouding the Bitterroot Mountains. Hamilton’s Main Street lined up with locals as various floats and marchers filled the side streets. Ravalli County Republicans assembled next to Ravalli County Democrats on N. 7th St., between Pickney and Cherry. No harsh words exchanged — these folks are your neighbors. A little good-natured ribbing, though, as the Democrat donkey overshadowed the much smaller Republican elephant.
As many, if not more, Democrats than Republicans gathered — an historic anomaly. Perhaps the Bitterroot GOP is getting complacent. Or maybe it’s Donald J. Trump galvanizing Ravalli Democrats.
Bystanders were civil, which had concerned me a bit as I traveled to Hamilton from the People’s Republic of Missoula. Sure, there were sections of deep quiet as we marched along the parade route but also pockets of enthusiastic applause. No middle fingers or taunts that I was aware of.
Candidates marched in the parade: Laura Jackson, HD 85, Jason Nickisch, HD 86; Margaret Gorski, HD 88 and county commission candidate Lyndsay Stover. It takes some guts to run for office as a Democrat in Ravalli County. Give them some love.
On the way home, I watched a tired old pickup trailering a pile of scrap wood lose a trailer tire and dump its load across the two northbound lanes of Highway 93. I stopped to help clean up the mess, as did others, including a young woman in a Greg Chilcott (Ravalli County Republican Commissioner) t-shirt who had most likely been in the parade, too. I was in my Tester t-shirt. We acknowledged each other’s presence, cleaned up the mess, and headed our separate ways. So there’s that. It was a good day.