Young dancer in the Tieton Highland Days Parade

Who doesn’t love a parade?  Seattle has several huge parades every year such as the Gay Pride Parade and the Seafair Torchlight Parade.  People stake out spots along the parade route 24-hours ahead of time, and these parades mean thick crowds and traffic congestion — two headaches that I generally try to avoid in my home city.

So I was simply delighted by this weekend’s Highland Days Parade in the small eastern Washington community of Tieton (population about 1,200).  Tieton is situated amidst apple orchards, and its parade reflected the influence of its Scottish and Mexican settlers.

I had forgotten what small town parades are like.  The thrill of snatching up a piece of tossed penny candy, the excruciatingly loud sirens from the police car (Moms covering the ears of their toddlers), the respect for the passing flag (everyone stood up as the flag bearers passed by).  Families lined the curb of the parade route — most choosing the shady side of the streets.  There were shiny fire trucks from neighboring fire districts, jeeps with military veterans, a truckload of players from the town’s football team, the high school marching band and dance troupe, and a few visiting bands.  And clowns, of course, as well as a few teenage princesses wearing tiaras. All paraded around three sides of the Tieton town square.

Families sit on the curb awaiting the start of the parade.

Flag bearers, color guard

Drums

Honoring veterans

Kids on parade

One of several clowns

Highland High School marching band

Highland High School dance troupe

Highland dancers

Highland Scotties dancers

Highland Scotties dancers

Visiting bagpipe performers from the Tacoma Scots Pipe Band

Young Mexican dancers in traditional dress

Young dancers

Mexican dancers in the Tieton Highland Days Parade

The biggest surprise for me was seeing the Mexican dancing horses, which were the grande finale.  I had never heard of this part of Mexican culture.  Some of the riders were garbed in exquisitely and richly decorated regalia.  The command of their horses was awesome.  My still photos do not capture the movements of the dancing horses, so you might want to check out some of these amazing animals on YouTube (you and link to one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_99edao868&NR=1)

Horses and riders line up in the staging area before entering the parade route.

Mexican regalia -- lovely details

Two young riders

Mexican regalia

Mexican dancing horse

Hooves in mid-dance step

Mexican riders on parade

Exquisitely embroidered jacket and hat