A standard bearer rolls up a flag at the end of the Fourth of July parade in Jackson in 2016. (Angus M. Thuermer, Jr./WyoFile)

You can retire a bad flag but you can’t keep a good flag down.

Or a good parade from happening.

Across Wyoming, many residents will celebrate Independence Day with parades, fireworks and barbecues, despite social-distancing guidelines imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although officials cancelled some major parades and events, others will continue, many under new pandemic guidelines. Gov. Mark Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon will lead the two-mile parade in Dubois, according to the Wyoming Office of Tourism.

In past years, a column of military vehicles, including tanks, has made up part of the celebration. The event this year, in deference to pandemic guidelines, ends with an ice cream “anti-social.”

Worries regarding the spread of COVID-19 have led some parade organizers to prohibit the traditional throwing of candy and distribution of political flyers from parade floats and vehicles. In Lander, organizers are seeking to set up booths where candy can be distributed to children in a controlled setting.

Residents resurrected the Lander parade after officials cancelled the traditional event because of pandemic worries in the Wyoming county most affected by the virus. Rachel Good and friends couldn’t bear to see a 126-year tradition stumble, she told WyoFile.

“Many of my friends were so upset,” she said. “We organized a group on Facebook seeing who would be interested in a cruise-type thing.” 

She, husband Dylan Good, Hunter Brewer and David Osborn originally proposed a pirate parade, she said. A Facebook group grew quickly — to more than 1,400 by this week.

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City and county officials contacted the four to discuss permits, change the name to a pirate “cruise” and establish parameters. Organizers couldn’t get Main Street closed — a state permit takes 90 days — before Sen. Cale Case (R-Lander) stepped in and helped make it happen, Good said.

The only shortcoming at this point: “we won’t have fire trucks at the end,” Good said. “The fire department is so strapped on people.”

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307)...

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