The history of 30A's Fourth of July parade

Published: Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM.

One year some friends and I entered my orange VW Thing, covered with signs proclaiming us “Seagrove Riff-Raft and proud of it.” Another year the bikinied girls from Puckett, Miss., rode in an open jeep with a sign that read “Came down on vacation, went home on Probation.”  “Riff-Raft” got an honorable mention when the prizes were handed out.  The Puckett girls got admiring glances.

What Seaside was doing to the Fourth of July parade was a small taste of what was happening all along the coast. From the condos on Thomas Drive to the Condos of Gulf Shores and in gated communities and mini-mansions at points in between, a new Gulf Coast was being created by folks who wanted their time at the beach neatly choreographed to bleed out any suggestion of spontaneity.

With Seaside in the parade, spontaneity seemed lost in the shuffle.

Then, a few years later, there appeared in the parade a float filled with men wearing grass skirts with coconut bras and announcing themselves as the “Margarita MeMaws.” With them the next year were the twirling “girls” from Butler, Ala., high school friends reuniting at the beach and strutting their middle-aged stuff.

And I realized that despite the organization and the commercialization, Seaside had not “put an end to carefree way of life.” The expanded parade just gave folks another opportunity to be carefree at the coast.

For that is what folks come to the coast to be.   

Happy belated Fourth of July.

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