Yesterday, that girl and I drove into Helena to watch the 93rd annual Vigilante Parade. According to the Independent Record, our local paper, the parade is among the oldest high school parades in the nation. In 1924, Helena High principal A. J. Roberts originated the parade as a way to replace a traditional spring event called “Senior-Junior Fight.” The battles between seniors and juniors for placing their flags began in the 1890s and had, by the 1920s, escalated into all manner of actual fights and anarchy.
My parents participated in the Vigilante Parade in the 1940s. One year they rode an authentic stagecoach through Last Chance Gulch.
I was on the Sweepstakes winning “Oxbow Mine” float in 1973 and part of the parade in 1974 when Capital High became part of the parade for the first time.
My daughter was in the parade in the 1990s.
The parade celebrates the history of Helena and Montana as a whole.
We watched yesterday’s parade from a spot on the walking mall section of Last Chance Gulch, just across from the Livestock Building. As always, some of the floats were very detailed and well-constructed. Others were just for fun. Honestly, I felt a sense of pride as I watched the parade.
Today, I am posting a few parade photographs taken with my smarter-than-me-phone.