09 September 2008

Civic Pride

In early September of 1876 the combined James-Younger gang attempted a brazen robbery of the First National Bank of Northfield, a community about 30 miles south of the state capitol. It went wrong, as has been detailed in books and movies, and resulted in a thousand-man posse and the downfall of one of the most notorious, dangerous gangs of the era.

This is not a history lesson, however.

Presenting the colorsThis is about how the city of Northfield commemorates the September 1876 defeat of the Jesse James Gang each year on the weekend following Labor Day, with an art festival, rodeos, fair rides, bank raid re-enactments, and then on the last day, a parade featuring over 100 entries - one of the longest parades in the state, and officially the third largest gathering since it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to a community that's home to under 20,000 people (and two fine colleges.)

Here are two video clips. First, the Northfield High School Marching band passing the now famous First National Bank while they're approaching Bridge Square, the heart of the modern downtown:
Next, a short excerpt of the last ride by the re-enactment gang riders, firing their 6-shooters as they file down Division Street approaching the end of the parade route on Sunday, 7 September 2008:

This is a civic pride exercise. High School students who could be watching the NFL give up their Sunday afternoon to march through town, attorneys and others set aside their craft and become street performers to lend authenticity to the scene... the town celebrates that by working together regular citizens defeated one of the most feared groups of armed desperados in the late 1800s.

There go the riders...James Younger re-enactment riders leave Northfield
...more stills to follow soon!

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