Seaside History

Waving the Flag in the Early 1900s

July 3, 2013 | by Nate Burke

Seaside boasts one of the finest fireworks shows anywhere on the West Coast and folks have been coming from far and wide to celebrate Independence Day with us for years. The 4th of July celebrations in Seaside aren’t limited to our spectacular evening showcase either, they encompass the entire day! The mid-day parade has been a longstanding tradition, with both visitors and locals coming out to join the procession and show off their costumes, floats, and custom built classic cars.

Before the Independence Day celebration evolved to the extravaganza it is today, people still went all out to celebrate the 4th despite limited resources and technology. Take this vintage photo from the early 1900s which shows one of Seaside’s earliest floats. Drawn by a four-horse team, a tiered wagon of this size would have been a marvel to the spectators and may have been the centerpiece of the parade. Perhaps normally used to cart hay bales, this makeshift float had been modified to carry Seaside’s schoolchildren decked out in patriotic regalia.

A burning question: nowadays we all expect to catch handfuls of goodies flung to us from the parade procession, but did our predecessors in the distant past toss treats as well? A good clue may be hidden in this very photo where you can see a small dog poised patiently by the float.  Across the great gulf of history all begging dogs look the same and this pup certainly looks like he is begging for a treat. Regardless of candy throwing customs in the early 1900s, you can grasp the genuine love of country portrayed by the folks on this makeshift float. It may be modest compared to today’s Macy Parade standards, but sometimes modesty can be the most effective form of tribute.

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