The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches along the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches along the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

Happy birthday to this weird, exciting, frenetic and sometimes challenging nation. Happy birthday to the people over the centuries who keep working on the bold experiment of representative democracy — even if it seems like two steps forward and one step back.

Thank you to the First Nations who lived here before European migrants and refugees arrived. We live in the land of the Dena’ina and Suqpiaq people and many other great tribes, and we should not forget that.

Happy birthday to the founding parents, the women and men who dared to give up their fortunes to build a better way of government. Happy birthday to the ancestors, those who built communities, and not just towns of brick and mortar, but of heart and culture.

Happy birthday to the dreamers, the strivers, the explorers and the artists who have pushed the limits of knowledge and imagination.

Happy birthday to the workers, the people who show up and do the tough job of keeping our country going. Some of you have to work today, so thank you for your service. You are not pencil pushers or bureaucrats, but servants to the cause.

Happy birthday to the taxpayers, the people who willingly or not write the checks that keep the police cruisers and firetrucks fueled, the roads plowed and the zoning permits processed.

Happy birthday to the poll workers who serve democracy in its most basic form. Thank you for signing us in, checking our registration and giving us the tools to elect better representatives. Thank you to the voters who show up election after election and make informed decisions.

Happy birthday to us all, we Americans who have been here generations or have just arrived. If you’re just visiting from France, Australia, Germany, Canada and other nations, join us in the party. P.S. to France: Merci beaucoup for all the help during the Revolution and especially for that cool statute.

It’s our holiday, America. Cheer on the parade at 6 p.m. today on Pioneer Avenue, exercise free speech and religion, enjoy the bounty of this earth, visit with friends (and make some new ones). Today is our day, a time for fun, like these Best Bets:

BEST ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT BET: Don’t miss the New Old Time Chautaugqua folks when they march in the big parade at 6 p.m. today on Pioneer Avenue. Did we mention the parade? Head on over at 8 p.m. to the SPARC for the big finale to a week of fabulous events in Homer, when the New Old Time Chautauqua knocks yer socks off with this vaudeville extravaganza. The evening performance offers entertainment and delight for the whole family withjuggling, acrobatics, dancing, aerials, magic, mime, live music, and more — and will feature locally and internationally-acclaimed talent.

BEST FULL SCOTTISH BET: No, we’re not talking bangers and neeps, but a weekend for Scots and their friends to celebrate the culture of like the coolest and funniest people on the planet. The roster starts tonight with a wee bit of whisky tasting and a Scottish trivia contest at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35. Stick around for musical guests The Fire, with high-stepping Celtic music.

On Friday, learn some Scottish music with master workshops by The Fire musicians. Workshops are at fiddling from 1-2:30 p.m. and flat picking from 3-4:30 p.m., both at the Homer Council on the Arts. Register at www.homerart.org.

Then, from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday at Karen Hornaday Park, join the big Scottish Highland Games, when brawny lads and lasses do things like throw around big rocks and logs. Admission is $10. If you missed The Fire tonight, catch them at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

BEST SAVE THE WHALES AND THEIR BUDDIES BET: It’s not easy being a marine mammal what with habitat loss and other stresses. Learn about whales, dolphins and seals having a tough time of it for Marine Mammal Awareness Weekend from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

BEST OH PIONEERS! BET: If you’re a longtime Alaskan — and we’re talking more than 20 years in the state — join other pioneers for the monthly meeting of the Pioneers of Alaska Igloos 14 and 32 at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Homer Senior Center.

BEST WELCOME ABOARD BET: One of Homer’s biggest philanthropy organizations is Homer Foundation. Every week we run letters from people benefitting from the dozens of scholarships and funds they manage to support good work in our town. Visit from 5-6 p.m. Tuesday for an open house to welcome the new Homer Foundation Executive Director, Michael Miller.

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches by the Salty Dawg on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches by the Salty Dawg on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches by the Salty Dawg on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches by the Salty Dawg on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches on the Homer Spit on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches on the Homer Spit on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches along the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches along the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches along the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra marches along the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Jabali Trippsmith jumps on bouncing stilts as the New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra performs in the Homer Boathouse at the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Jabali Trippsmith jumps on bouncing stilts as the New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra performs in the Homer Boathouse at the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra performs in the Homer Boathouse at the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The New Old Time Chautauqua Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band Orchestra performs in the Homer Boathouse at the Homer Harbor on July 2, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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