Flip-flops, Flags, and Fireworks


July 4th in the USA is Independence Day, and things are heating up. A mid-week holiday means that lots of folks are heading for St. Simons Island. There’s a constant flow of bikes going to the beach, the liquor store is humming, and the grocery store is full of sunburned families filling carts with fun and unhealthy food.

And let me tell you that for most people at the beach, the ultimate independence is wearing flip-flops full-time.

We’ve celebrated July 4th all over the USA, and the obligatory fireworks are always fun. But in our experience, the daytime parade usually reflects more of the character of the place. We’ve seen decorated dogs, bedecked bikes, tarted-up tractors, and gussied-up garbage trucks. We’ve even seen potbellied pigs on leashes! However, on St. Simons we saw our first golf cart parade.

Golf cart parade

The island is a small, low-traffic place, and golf carts aren’t only for cruising the links. Lots of people use them as a car alternative. And because there are so many buzzing around, it only makes sense to have a golf cart parade. It’s fun because everyone gets in on the act.

Body stocking kids

The two enthusiastic kids above were having way too much fun, even with a one-piece body suit (probably polyester) on a hot, humid southern day.

body stocking kid

The 20-25 carts were quite a spectacle cruising down Mallery Street to the Pier Village.

Patriotic cart

This cart received our “Best Patriotic” award.

Tiki Cart

However, best-of-show was the “Tiki Cart.” We loved the attitude, and the fact that no surface went undecorated.

Flag waver

It was good to see everyone involved … kids …

Patriotic Dogs

… and dogs as well.

Sleeping Baby

Like most places on July 4th, it was hot and humid. We decided this cute baby had the right idea – a nap! And now we’re ready for the fireworks!

Happy July 4th Everyone,
James and Terri

Last updated July 10, 2017

P.S. You’ll also be glad to know that the “Totem of the Beach Clan” is going strong!


Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

34 thoughts

    1. As I said in the post, golf carts are a regular feature here on the island, and the parade is good fun. The village even has designated parking spots for carts. And even though it’s just another Thursday in Barcelona, go out with a few friends, have a drink, and tell them how Americans celebrate giving the King his marching orders. Happy 4th! ~James

      1. Have you ever been to Catalina Island? Golf cards are the dominant life form there. The number of cars is so strictly controlled that almost everyone drives a cart. And there’s no golf coarse there!

      2. I haven’t been to Catalina Tom, but that makes total sense. I hear that Martha’s Vineyard also strictly controls car traffic, so golf carts are probably a big item there as well. ~James

  1. Have you ever seen the TV show ‘The Neighbours’ – it’s about aliens who come to earth and try to fit in. But they all go around in matching clothes, driving golf carts – this post reminded me of it! How cute is that baby?! Tempted to go back to bed after seeing that pic!

    1. Thanks Linda. This was a classic summer scene that I couldn’t resist. This baby couldn’t care less about the holiday, but the shade and blanket was all she needed. And since you’re a non-American in Latvia, you have two legitimate reasons not to celebrate Independence Day. But my motto is “any excuse for a party” so have a happy July 4! ~James

  2. Happy Independence Day and thanks for sharing a great piece of Americana. It is not a big thing in the UK as you might imagine, so we are just sipping on a beer and quietly appreciating the moment. – Mike

    1. We’ve spent a few 4ths overseas as well Mike, and unless we got together with American expats, the holiday was a non-event. And I think that for most Americans at home, it really represents the peak of the frenzy of summer vacations. Whatever the motivation, it’s a good excuse for a beer and barbecue. Happy July 4th! ~James

    1. Good timing on the fireworks in Chaz. One set of fireworks per year is enough I think. Road trips are great, but getting out of the car, and horizontal in a comfy bed is no bad thing either. Happy July 4! ~James

  3. I agree that a parade says a lot about an area, and is always so much fun. I think my favorite was a boat parade.
    I really wanted to see a parade this year, but I couldn’t find one in our area. 😦 Hope you both are having a great 4th! (Enjoy those unhealthy foods. I know we are.)

    1. Hey Anita. We saw a boat parade when we lived in Charleston, and it was very cool. The golf cart parade was a pretty low-key affair, but the bike ride to the village, and the hot, humid afternoon inspired me to take a short nap under a live oak tree by the ocean. It’s July 4 at its best. ~James

    1. No joke. I was in shorts and a t-shirt, and was wilting. But, as they say in the south: “Kids just don’t know any different.” I loved their spirit, and good for them. ~James

  4. And a Happy Fourth to you. Ours is just starting but we are at Spence’s Bridge in Canada on the Thompson River. Canada Day was July 1. Not much action here. 🙂 –Curt

    1. Thanks for checking in Curt. I imagine it’s a bit cooler where you are (lucky dog!). It’s a typical summer day in Georgia. At this very moment, its 88º and 76% humidity! If it weren’t for the sea breeze I’d complain about it being hot. Happy 4th to you as well. ~James

  5. Looks like the festivities have begun! It has been a steady downpour here all day, so not much chance of fireworks this evening.

    1. Bummer about the rain LuAnn, but hopefully, it will clear by the evening. If not, it sounds like a good night to sit on the porch, and toast the founding fathers for booting out the Brits. ~James

  6. That. is . awesome. I have never seen a golf cart parade, but now I have! Thanks for all the great pictures. My sister is on St. Thomas and skipped over to St. John to see Carnival yesterday.

    1. Thanks Andrea. The parade really was fun, and it gave everyone a good chance to be creative. But I don’t think that our parade can hold a candle to Carnival in St. John. Have a great holiday. ~James

    1. Thanks Tracy. The parade is pretty low-key, but it really is good fun. Adults, kids, and even dogs get involved. The kids particularly seem to enjoy it. Happy Holiday. ~James

  7. This year, we spent our 4th cruising the interstate, stopping for the night in Monroe, LA. Very quiet park – no fireworks. Tomorrow we will arrive at our summer workamp location in Texas. Hope you had a great 4th!

    1. Laura, we’ve spent a few holidays on the road as well, and sometimes it just has be done. I’m sure you guys are excited about the workcamp. Where is it in Texas? ~James

      1. The park looks great Laura, and it will be nice to be so close to Dallas so you can go in for entertainment and restaurants. We lived in Dallas (twice) and there are tons and tons of things to do. It looks like a sweet deal for you guys, and I’m sure it will be a fun experience. ~James

  8. What fun festivities!! It all looks so patriotic and proudly American. I love town festivals like this. The best one I’ve ever been to was in Maine. Now I think St. Simon’s maybe be in line next year.

    1. Juliann, even with all the tourists coming and going, St. Simons really is a small town and it has lots of events throughout the year that emphasize the fun, small town feel. We lived there 3 years and got to know the are pretty well, so I can say that if you visit, you won’t be disappointed. ~James

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