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Boise Neighborhood Opts for Smaller, Kid-Centric July 4th Celebration


Cotton candy was an extremely popular item at the Vista neighborhood Independence Day celebration. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Cotton candy was an extremely popular item at the Vista neighborhood Independence Day celebration.
As thousands of revelers streamed into Boise Saturday morning, kicking off Independence Day with a parade through the downtown core following by a daylong celebration in Ann Morrison Park followed by a thunderous fireworks finale, a more humble Fourth of July celebration could be found in the Vista neighborhood’s Shoshone Park. But it wasn’t any less fun or patriotic.

“We’ve got a little bit of everything today,” said Dave Kangas, president of the Vista Neighborhood Association, as he surveyed the scene. “This really came together nicely and I must say it exceeded my expectations.”

While most neighborhoods ceded their Independence Day celebrations to the massive party in Ann Morrison Park, Vista neighborhood residents thought it might be a good idea to harness some of the energy of the Energize Our Neighborhoods initiative, which has targeted Vista with a series of programs and improvements.

  • George Prentice
“Kudos to the city’s Park and Recreation Department,” said Kangas. “We asked them to come out and spend their Fourth of July with us and they set up tents for face painting and arts and crafts. Plus we’ve got a dunk tank, dodge ball over there, giant croquet over there and we’ve even got a big water tender to hose down the kids.”

Nearby, a makeshift sound system played patriotic tunes; children created red, white and blue windsocks; and a long line of kids anxiously awaited their chance to grab some free cotton candy, hot dogs and hamburgers.

The city of Boise's Information Technology Department set up another popular attraction: a photo booth where kids of all ages could pose in front of a green-screen while images of Superman, Batman, Harry Potter and characters from Frozen and Star Wars were superimposed alongside the party-goers.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this,” said Mike Markham, Boise IT Customer Service manager, who quickly added that his colleagues, all Boise computer system technicians, deserved most of the credit. “Truly, this is all happening because of them—Roxanna McNew, Caroline Tangen and Jessica Charlton.”

Organizers told Boise Weekly that their neighborhood’s 2015 Independence Day celebration was the first of what will be an annual tradition.