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County seat celebrating ‘Passport to Freedom’

June 23, 2011

Many hikers traversing the Sierra come down from the backcountry to Independence on the Fourth of July. Some come for the parade, like this rowdy bunch from last year. The county seat will be partying all day on Monday, July 4. Photo by Mike Bodine

Inyo’s county seat of Independence is not only appropriately named for Fourth of July celebrations, but the residents there work overtime to make sure the Southern Inyo town is the place to celebrate America’s birthday.
That extra effort results each year in patriotic and otherwise July 4-themed action from morning through the night with a flag-raising, parade, barbecue, kids games, arts and crafts fair, a marathon and a pyrotechnics display at the Independence Airport.
The theme of this year’s Fourth of July celebration is “Passport to Freedom,” which according to organizers “acknowledges journeys to freedom ranging from the backpacker on the Pacific Crest Trail, to those that made the trip to the United States seeking a new life, free of intolerance.”
Featured on the official 2011 celebration T-shirt is a legendary “seeker of freedom on the backcountry trails,” Norman Clyde. “He is looking down from the Sierra at our local symbol of freedom, the historic courthouse in the County Seat of Independence,” states a press release.
According to the Independence Civic Club, there are many backcountry hikers on the Pacific Crest or John Muir trails, for example, who intentionally arrive at Independence on July 4 to help the town celebrate the nation’s formation, march in the Fourth of July Parade, and enjoy the community deep-pit barbecue at Dehy Park.
In keeping with this year’s theme, Evelyn Mae Nikolaus is being honored as the parade grand marshal. For many years, her family explored the backcountry from their home in Independence.
For more information, including parade entry forms, 4K/10K race entry forms and the arts and crafts show vendor application forms, call (760) 920-2538, or look for information at the Independence Chamber of Commerce website,, or the Independence Civic Club website,

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