Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend: Mules and Memorials

{my family enjoying typical East Coast Memorial Day parades over the years}

On the East Coast, historically (in my life), Memorial Day represents the blooming of lilacs, the official a-ok time to plant your garden, the time to pull the white things out of the closet, the beginning of grilling season...and, of course, huge Memorial Day commemorations and parades in every town.

This Memorial Day weekend, I'm in California - the other place where we hang our hats -- and, here in the Eastern Sierra, Memorial Day seems to be less about memorials and more about mules.

While I must say I'm a traditionalist and really think Memorial Day should be about, well, commemorating US men and women who died in service, I must say that celebrating the mules is pretty cool, too.

{my mom and my eldest daughter enjoying Mule Days in years past}

Every year during the Memorial Day Weekend, more than 700 mules compete in 181 events at the Bishop Mule Days Celebration in Bishop, California. There is no way to actually describe Mule Days. It is part mule show, part test of skills, and part wild west.

Situated on the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop, California, Mule Days has become an international world class event. Crowds are estimated to be about 30,000! Highlights of the Celebration include the longest running non-motorized parade (my family is full of generations of parade lovers, so this stuff matters to us) on Saturday morning, Steer roping and penning, an event normally reserved for quarter horses, and the Packer's Scramble – the wildest, noisiest and funniest event of the weekend. There are also barbecues, country dances and an arts & crafts show. All taking place at the foot of the beautiful Eastern Sierra.

We've had the chance to partake in Mule Days several times -- it is a hoot! Looking forward to sharing it this year with some East Coast friends and Baby R.

What are you doing this Memorial Day Weekend?

On Monday, I'll be sharing a bit more about Mule Days. Yeehaw!

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