Festivities with a twistThe strains of violins and collection boxes set this year’s Fourth of July parade apart.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The strains of violins and collection boxes set this year’s Fourth of July parade apart.
For the first time in 13 years, the committee that provides a day full of free Independence Day entertainment is asking for community action.
“We are holding a food drive,” said Dave Stannard, a founding member of the Citizens 4th of July Committee. With an expected turnout of 5,000 for the parade alone, the drive could give a big boost to food pantries at Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency, Faith United Methodist Church and Salvation Army of Superior.
“Hopefully we’ll fill the shelves to overflowing,” said committee secretary Nell Loughren.
When the idea of a food drive was pitched at a meeting, she said, members jumped on board right away.
“It was clear from requests from various food shelves that the need is there,” Loughren said. “We felt we had a good opportunity to have something for the community to participate in.”
All parade entrants and spectators are asked to bring a nonperishable food item or hygiene product such as shampoo, toothbrush, and toilet paper to the parade, which begins at 1 p.m. Sunday.
There will be two trucks traveling along the parade route collecting donations, as well as a trailer in the Pilgrim Lutheran Church parking lot near the judge’s platform. The trailer will move to Tower Avenue during the Independence Day Car Show, beginning at 3 p.m.
“It’s something different for us,” Stannard said. “We want to do so much, but we don’t have the people.” Tapping into the parade crowd, he said, increases the committee’s ability exponentially.
In keeping with the food drive, this year’s parade theme is “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”
Grand marshals will be Julie Norman and Cindy Theien of National Bank of Commerce. The two women helped launch the Nutrition on Weekends program in Superior last winter. By the end of the school year, the program provided breakfast and lunch to 130 Superior School District students in need every weekend.
“I’m so glad we were able to start this program,” Norman said.
She is looking forward to being part of the longstanding Fourth of July event.
“It’s a fun time for the community, family and friends to get together,” Norman said. They plan to add to the fun by throwing candy from their Grand Marshal vehicle.
Another group looking forward to tossing candy is the Superior Middle School orchestra students. For 13 years, the Superior High School band has paraded down the streets of Superior on July 4. It’s time to even the playing field, according to Amy Eichers, orchestra teacher at the middle school.
“I thought it would be a fun thing for the summer school students to do,” Eichers said, as well as “good exposure for the strings program.” She hopes young parade-goers will see what fun orchestra members are having and join in someday.
Orchestras don’t march in parades for a number of reasons.
“Our instruments just aren’t loud enough for the sound to carry,” Eichers said.
Rain can damage the wooden instruments. And, as incoming high school freshman cellist Lauren Cooper put it, “It’s kind of hard to march with the instruments.”
So members of the orchestra will walk beside a truck pumping out string-heavy tunes like Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” If the day is clear, some students will ride with their instruments on the float, air-bowing.
“I think it’s great,” Lauren said.
Fellow freshman Tatianna Barton, who also plays cello, is looking forward to waving to her family in the crowd.
“It will be fun to see our little siblings and throw out candy,” she said.
Other crowd pleasers on tap for the parade, rain or shine, are a stagecoach team from Dallas, Wis., the Harbor City Roller Dames, the Thunder Bay Police Pipes and Drums and Sterling Silver Studios.
“It’s a great show,” Stannard said. That’s why he and his wife Fran have worked on the committee for 13 years – fundraising, preparing trophies, working on the parade line-up and more.
“We know we’re doing a great service for the city, putting on a show for people who are not able to go away for the holiday,” Stannard said.
And, he said, they get to meet many great people. Loughren said she is on many volunteer committees, but the Citizens 4th of July group is her “fun club.”
The committee is in need of volunteers. Help is needed along the parade route and in planning for next year’s event. For more information or to volunteer, call the Stannards at (715) 394-9673 or look it up online at www.superior4thjuly.com. Although parade entries are only being taken through today, anyone interested in taking part in the parade can show up along Morterelli Drive prior to the 1 p.m. parade Sunday, Stannard said.
The Nutrition on Weekends program is dormant for the summer, but the group is currently looking for a new site to bag food at and for volunteers to help bag, transport and purchase the food when school begins in the fall. For more information or to volunteer, call the United Way of Superior-Douglas County at (715) 394-2733 or the National Bank of Commerce at (715) 395-5555.