Fish, candy and roaring engines fill Mackay for holiday fun | Characteristics
As the trademark protected ATV capital of Idaho and the West, Mackay often buzzes with the sound of loud engines.
Independence weekend was no exception. But those roars came from 2-wheeled machine engines, not 4-wheelers.
The Mackay Motorcycle Rodeo arrived in town for a few days as bikers packed motels, RV parks and campgrounds and entered their wacky contests at the rodeo grounds. The rest of the community filled with visitors and people who returned home for the holidays to enjoy a traditional small town Independence Day festival.
The big day of this year was actually Saturday July 3rd. But a casual observer wouldn’t have known it wasn’t July 4th as people celebrated the holiday.
The main street and several side streets were lined with spectators watching cyclists slip into town for a parade. Handfuls of candy were thrown by passengers in the backs of the bikes, grabbed quickly and stuffed into plastic bags. Garage sales were plentiful and the doors to the shops opened wide to welcome customers.
After the parade was over, people headed either to the rodeo grounds for the main motorcycle event or to the kids’ park for lunch, games and the other main event – a fish pond.
Rainbow trout with an average length of 6 to 8 inches were thrown into a makeshift pond in the park and the children had the opportunity to jump in and try to catch one of the creatures slippery.
The fish pond has been a regular event in Mackay since the early 1990s, said Zane Vaden, resident of Mackay and EMT. Volunteers erected a wooden frame, placed it in a pond liner, used a fire hose to fill it with water, and waited for the children to line up. Rules were set – including that no one was supposed to take a live fish and throw it into a creek or river or the reservoir, and the screams began.
The youngest children, no more than 3 years old, were the first, but they did not swim with the fish. Instead, rubber ducks were thrown into the pond for the tykes to grab. They were given plastic containers of guppies that they could take home instead of a large trout.
As soon as the toddlers finished their hunt, the volunteers used nets to haul the trout out of the large reservoir. The nets were emptied into the pond, the “go” sound was given and the children jumped to begin the hunt. The older the kids, the less it was about catching a fish, but more of a soaking and splashing contest.
This year’s fish expedition came from the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. The school donated the fish, Vaden said. The fish have come from many places over the past three decades, said Vaden, including Pocatello and occasionally the Mackay Fish Hatchery which one year bailed out the fish pond volunteers when Vaden woke up in the morning. of the party and found an aquarium of dead fish. . Before the following summer, Vaden designed a hose system that sprays water around the tank, keeps the water and air flowing, and ensures that the water level does not drop so that the fish do not die.
“I don’t want this to happen again,” he said of the fateful year of the dead fish.
Across the children’s park, volunteers served around 500 hot dogs, along with fries and watermelon at a donation lunch. Diners could also purchase cookies and drinks, with all proceeds going to Mackay Elementary School.
Children could spend a lot of excess energy on traditional park games – three-legged races, sack races, wheelbarrow races – before the fish pond opened. The teens brought boxes of suction cups to the finish line for each participant to grab one at the end of a race.
The park’s permanent play structures – swings, merry-go-round, giant climbing tires, slide – were full all afternoon too as the kids celebrated “old school fun,” according to Robin Mangan of The Lost Rivers Medical Center. She and the community health workers at Lost Rivers offered free blood pressure checks at their booth. They handed out red, white and blue fans, hand sanitizer, candy, pens and sticky notes and raffled garden games.