On July 4th, Ramsey's Braggarts Morris Men head over to the block party on Matt and Deb's street in Saint Paul where we have a picnic and dance for a bit and then listen to the swing band their neighbor organizes. Deb is one of our musicians, and she also dances on the local women's Morris team, the Bells of the North. So this year we invited the Bells as well.
The neighborhood blocks off the street, which means for one day of the year all the kids (countless children live on this street) get to play right smack dab in the forbidden zone of the blacktop. This turns the everyday into something very special. The day begins with the bike parade, with kids on bikes and trikes and scooters and strollers. It isn't intended to be a race, but some of the kids get confused on that point. Here's a piece of the parade. I'm visible in the background in the picture, in my Morris kit holding a bottle of HeBrew beer in my hand.
Isn't the setting just too wholesome for words? What I love about the parade is that this event, which delights the children tremendously and which they anticipate all the year long, costs nothing to put on. You just declare that there will be a parade and there is a parade.
After the parade the Bells got up to dance. Aren't they lovely?
Here they are, finishing up their set. Gracefulness personified.
Here are the Braggarts, without me, in our knee-destroying original choreography. Bob had dropped by just for a few minutes, so we handed him a box and made him play.
Once again, isn't that background just too perfect? Isn't this a movie set from an Andy Hardy film?
We danced a few mass dances. We made Anna Bean dance in with us for Vandals of Hammerwich, across from her father Michael:
Here are the hucklebacks. It's a pity you can see only two of the three musicians (Libbie, Deb, and Denise), because dressed all proper in their Morris kits each playing different instruments they looked like porcelein figurines.
Perhaps there are undertones of irony in celebrating Independence Day by performing traditional British ritual dances.