Saturday, August 8, 2020


Moab, UT

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    Fourth of July parade a hit with residents

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    Men donned wooden masks and numerous layers of sweatshirts and ponchos then proceeded to hit each other with whips as they danced around the town square.
    Ron Drake
    Ron Drake
    Times-Independent Columnist

    “I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback” said Susan Halliday when talking about the Castle Valley Fourth of July parade.

    A woman plays the bagpipes
    Carol Drake plays the bagpipes prior to the start of Saturday’s Independence Day parade in Castle Valley.
    Photo courtesy of Ron Drake

    “Everybody was so happy when they saw the parade coming; they needed something to celebrate.” Halliday was the driving force behind the parade and has been for the past several years when the Castle Valley Fire Department also hosted a pancake breakfast in addition to a smaller parade.

    This year, because of COVID-19, the breakfast was canceled so she organized a parade, which traveled nearly three miles down Castle Valley Drive. People safely gathered at all of the intersections that meet Castle Valley Drive and were wearing patriotic outfits and decorated vehicles to watch the procession as it slowly proceeded down the main road.

    The parade had about 17 entrants, which was a pretty respectable number for such a small community. They included five mostly vintage cars, an Indian Motorcycle with a sidecar, five tractors, six fire engines and a float, which was constructed by Jan Smith, Pamela Gibson, Tricia Ogilvy and Halliday. The float, which featured a replica of Castle Rock and Bert the social distancing rhinoceros, was pulled by Greg Halliday driving his LA525 Kubota tractor.

    Participants in Saturday’s Fourth of July parade in Castle Valley. Photo by Bill Rau

    Other tractors were my 1953 Golden Jubilee Ford, Don Montoya and his 332 John Deere, Hank Freeman’s LA904 Kubota and Lee Stoddard’s JD5425 John Deere. Stoddard, who is still working out the kinks of his new tractor, was not able to get the machine into high range and could only go 2.7 miles per hour, so he brought up the rear of the parade. He said it took an hour and a half to get home but he stopped and talked with people on the way. The vintage cars included a 1927 Chrysler roadster owned by Denis Wattelez, a beautifully restored Model A pickup owned by Sam Welch, and Pat Drake’s 1951 Ford Coupe.

    Dave and Sue Frey were riding an Indian motorcycle with the sidecar, and Mayor Jazmine Duncan, Leta Vaughn, Lesley Craig, Russ Cooper, Mitch Stock and Harry Holland were behind the wheel of the fire engines. Part-time Castle Valley resident Carol Drake also entertained the participants before the parade began with a medley of musical selections on the bagpipe. Overall, it was a nice way for Castle Valley residents to celebrate Independence Day, and even the “cynical and cranky people” enjoyed it, according to Halliday.

    • • •

    During the last Castle Valley Town Council meeting it was announced that Alex Holling, a local high school graduate, was awarded the annual Castle Valley Scholarship. The grant has been offered to graduating high school seniors for many years by a former resident to help them in their first year of advanced education.

    There were two applicants for the scholarship, but one applicant doesn’t currently live in the valley but did at one time. The council voted to award the scholarship to Holling who has lived here for much of his life.

    • • •

    “June weather is over in the valley,” according to our official weather observer, Bob Russell, “but unless you look at the calendar you may not notice.” He said our average high for June was 90 degrees and our average low was 62. Precipitation for the month was 1.07 inches with one inch of that falling on June 6 and 7. Our average maximum temperature for the last nearly 30 years was 86 with a low of 67 with 0.8 precipitation.

    We had numerous “red flag” fire warning days during the month of June and they are continuing this month. Even as I write this column today (Tuesday) we are under yet another “red flag” warning that extends into Wednesday, July 8. The Salt Lake City television news channels reported a lot of fireworks-related fires, but it seemed relatively free of fires in the Moab area, although it sounded like law enforcement agencies were busy chasing down aerial fireworks offenders in Moab.

    Regarding the June 6-7 storm, Russell says the National Weather Service has an interesting link, “Looking back at June 2020.” It has a description of that storm including hail stones larger than quarters in Monticello and houses with missing roofs in Craig, Colorado. “Take a look if you are interested,” he said.

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