Fourth of July Parade Brings Scientists Dressed in Foliage—Some With Nothing Else

July 3, 2014, The Wall Street Journal

1985 parade - Nick Waser

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.—Amid the parade floats for local businesses and civic organizations here every Fourth of July, one group stands out: a wild-looking clan of scientists dressed in foliage.

Clad in outfits fashioned from the football-sized leaves of the skunk cabbage plant, they play an odd medley of instruments—trombones, kazoos, pots and pans—as they march forward, then backward down Elk Avenue, the main street in this Rocky Mountain ski town.

A group wearing black galoshes under their leaf skirts twirls butterfly nets in rhythm, like batons. One man teeters through the crowd in stilts. Some wear clothing underneath the vegetation; others don’t.

As the cacophony swells, they chant letters spelling out four words: “Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.”

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