20th Anniversary for NE Neighborhood’s Parade of Sheds

The Parade of Sheds is a self-guided tour taking place on Saturday, September 12

Tuesday Sep. 1st, 2020

This year the novel coronavirus has rained on quite a few parades, but that isn’t stopping Bozeman’s Northeast Neighborhood from celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its infamous Parade of Sheds.

While there won’t be an actual parade this year, there will be maps available for a self-guided tour of the neighborhood, along with a scavenger hunt in which visitors are challenged to find 20 iconic items in the ‘hood.

Former northeast Bozeman resident Jim Vernon is credited with organizing the original Parade of Sheds twenty years ago as a spoof on the Parade of Homes, held by the Southwest Montana Building Industry Association each September.

Vernon used to walk his dogs through the neighborhood and loved the funky sheds and quirky art he saw in people’s yards and neighborhood alleys. Legend has it that the idea occurred to him when he saw an ad for the upscale Parade of Homes —why not have a Parade of SHEDS, Northeast Neighborhood style?

The 20th Anniversary celebration will be a tribute to Jim Barnaby, artist and longtime resident who passed away 6 years ago. Barnaby lived for 30+ years in the iconic East Peach home once known by neighborhood children as “the devil house” but more commonly known as the “bicycle house” since getting a facelift in the mid 90s. Before moving with his donkeys and mules to Wilsall in 2011, Barnaby removed the trio of bicycles, which he referred to as “the dysfunctional family.” The artwork was damaged in the removal, but former partner Chandler Dayton is re-creating the characters with engineering advice from another long time neighbor, “Mountain Man” Bob Pavlic. The aim is to finish in time for an installation at the Bozeman Brewery on North Broadway as part of the 2020 Tour of Sheds.

“We do our best to keep the quirkiness alive,” said Jackie Wilson, a self-proclaimed old hippie and “Grand Wazira” of the Parade in years past. She says that living in the northeast neighborhood feels like living in “old Bozeman.” Having to plan for 20 extra conversation minutes with neighbors on any trip out of her home is part of what makes the neighborhood great. “You don’t have to worry if you leave your recycling in the yard,” she said. “Your lawn doesn’t have to be perfect and you can still hang your laundry on a clothesline!”

In honor of Barnaby, residents have been encouraged to decorate their yard or rooftop with bicycle art, which will be one of the items to be found on the scavenger hunt.

Families are especially encouraged to participate in the Tour, as it provides an opportunity to get outside on foot or bike and explore the nooks and crannies of one of Bozeman’s favorite neighborhoods. Social distancing and masks are required, but organizers point out that the neighborhood is pretty spread out, and close encounters can be easily avoided.

The Parade of Sheds is a self-guided tour taking place on Saturday, September 12. Maps will be available at the climbing rock next to the old train depot on Front and Ida Streets. They will also be available digitally at www.NENABozeman.org and www.facebook.com/BozemanNENA   

Amy Kelley Hoitsma is the current president and long-time resident of NENA (Northeast Neighborhood Association).