An Artist's Quest

Packing Parade Punch

In honor of the Future Farmers Country Fair I drew this Chicken portrait on my iPad.

Last night was Healdsburg’s 63rd annual Twilight Parade.  It is a small town tradition that has stayed close to its roots even as the town has changed around it.  The parade is the kick off to the Future Farmers Country Fair that takes over the football field with food booths and kids from 4H and FFA showing animals.  From an outsiders view this is a rinky-dink parade, there is absolutely nothing fancy about it.  It has kids in martial arts clubs and preschoolers on truck beds; it has marching Veterans and Shiners too old to ride their little bikes any more, it has the High School band (my son plays trombone), parading wiener dogs and the workers at a hair salon launching an Electric Slide flash mob in front of the judges stands.  But what it lacks in refinement it makes up for in heart.  Whenever I meet a transplant to town I’ll ask what they think of the Parade… if they poo-pooed it or didn’t even bother to watch, well to be honest I’m leery of these folks… on the other hand if they loved it and embraced the small town joy then I think “these are my kind of people”.  One of the best things about this parade is it is a great equalizer.  The whole town comes out. The wealthy and the working class and everyone in-between, white, brown, tan, pink, everybody; I mean everybody is either in this parade or watching this parade.  For a little background Healdsburg has a long history of being an agricultural town.  Now it is know for wine and vineyards but in the last century it was dubbed “The Buckle in the Prune Belt”.  Along with the wine industry in the past 15-20 years Healdsburg has had a revolution of sort, it went from being a small farming town with a healthy Russian River vacation crowd to a five star restaurant, high heel boutique, hundred dollar bottle of wine town.  I’ve heard it called “The Hamptons of the West” and “Carmel North”.  There are good things that have come with this transformation but there are bad things too.  The center of town no longer has a practical function for ordinary Healdsburgians.  The lower your income the less likely you are to ever set foot in one of the shops that line Healdsburg’s lovely Plaza.  This is a long explanation for why I love the Twilight Parade.  This event is one of two Healdsburg days (the parade and 4th of July) in which the whole town comes out.  It is free and everyone is involved.  My family always parks a car on the parade route (you have to stake out a spot at least 2 days ahead) and then the day of the parade we switch out the car for folding tables, everyone gathers bringing munchies and nibbles, I provided the parade punch (there are those who bring spiking flasks, but that is personal preference).  It’s a fantastic tradition.  Here is my Parade Punch recipe (don’t be turned off by the Jello it’s wonderful).

Luscious Slush Parade Punch:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (3oz) pk strawberry jello
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 liters of soda the recipe calls for Lemon lime (7-up) I use natural orange soda instead.

In large saucepan combine water, sugar, jello.  Boil 3 min.  Stir in juices.  Divide mixture in half and put into 2-zip bags place in freezer.  Set out frozen mixture.  When ready to serve break up on bag of mix into smaller chucks then plop into punch bowl.  Pour one liter of soda over top and use whisk or potato masher make into slush.  I put finely chopped mint and nasturtium flowers floating on top.  To refill add second bag of mix with second liter of soda.  (you might be able to get it in all at one but I divided it up to make it easier to mix in the frozen bits). I garnish mine with finely chopped mint that grows in my garden in abundance but that is strictly optional.

Here is a youtube link to a past parade if you want to get the flavor of the event.

2 responses

  1. Andrea

    As a transplant from another small town who’s claim to fame is having more people in the parade than watching it, I can attest to the endearing home town quality of the FFA parade. And the punch was fantastic!

    May 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

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