Johnson Independence Day Parade is tradition for many on the Palouse

JOHNSON, WA - Every year, a small town in Whitman County hosts one of the largest fourth of July traditions on the Palouse.

Few people visit the quiet town of Johnson.

"Johnson is a little farmland town," said Johnson resident Carol Whitman.

Unless, of course, it's the Fourth of July.

"Well our mom, we didn't have anything to do on the Fourth of July, so she said, 'Oh, go have a Parade," said parade organizer Carrie Druffel.

The Johnson parade originated 47 years ago when a group of siblings simply didn't have anything better to do.

"Went around with a little band and woke everybody in town up, and that was the parade," said Druffel.

But on the fourth, it's much more than that.

"All the citizens get together and they bring in their floats," said Whitman. "They bring in all kinds of decorations, all kinds of inventions that they've made."

"I love to see the floats and parade stuff," said Pullman resident Kirstin Wambake.

"People in town have been talking about it, and we thought, this is the first year we've been here, and we thought we'd come out and enjoy it," said Sue Vetrees.

"A glimpse at the Palouse Culture," said Bill Vetrees.

Johnson has a population of less than fifty, but every Fourth of July, thousands of people line the streets for what some call the best parade in the nation.

"It's awesome," said spectator.

"You never know what's going to be there," said Whitman."It's always different every year. Everybody says, 'Gee, don't you ever get tired of going?' No, because it's different every year."

The parade itself is short and sweet.

"At ten o'clock, we start channeling people down the road," said Druffel.

"They go up the street, it's very narrow, they go up the street and they come back, and they meet each other because they're still going this way, and now they're all coming back this way," said Whitman.

"That's the parade," said Druffel.

But the masses return year after year for the candy, and the camaraderie.

"It's a lot of fun, it's a great family time," said attendee Coleton Tenwick.

"You get to see a lot of friends that you don't' ever see," said Robyn Hayes.

The parade begins at 10:00 in the morning every year, and anyone is welcome to join in the procession. All you have to do is show up early enough.