Grinnell Fourth of July Parade was a hit

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Nearly 70 Grinnell businesses, organizations along with area communities were represented at the annual Fourth of July Parade on a comfortable Thursday, July 4 afternoon.

Both sides of the parade route were lined with folks of all ages dressed in festive clothing and kids with candy bags awaiting to be filled.

All were there for one reason, to celebrate our freedoms and our nation’s 248th birthday.

The parade featured an assortment of floats from fire trucks to tractors and farming equipment, a big ear of corn, decorated golf carts and ATVs, trucks and trailers loaded with kids squirting water guns, a Mayflower ship, decorated semitrucks, horses, a church furniture outreach, martial arts students, local veterans, a fellow dressed in Confederate War attire and much more.

Grand Marshals this year were sisters, Peggy Elliott and Martha Pinder, owners of the Grinnell Hearld Register, who rode in a 1963 Chevrolet Nova SS Convertible driven by Jim White, who bought the vehicle in 1973.

Riding shotgun and joining the newspaper duo was Chris Varney, former sports director at KGRN in Grinnell. In late May, KGRN, the local radio station in Grinnell, fired the entire staff in favor of outsourced news. Varney has accepted a job in Atlantic, Iowa and will soon be moving from Grinnell.

“It was a great honor to be asked by Martha and Peggy to ride with them,” said Varney. “I hate to be leaving Grinnell but riding in the parade was a good way to say goodbye to a community I was privileged to be a part of for the last 13 years.”

“I’m glad I live in Grinnell to see all the people that line the streets and wave and yell at you and are so happy to be here never gets old,” said White of the parade. “It’s always like a reunion of old friends seeing people sitting in the same places with friends, neighbors, classmates and families. It’s just a coming together of everyone and it always makes me feel so good.”

White added that it’s like a big family reunion for the town and surrounding areas.

“I appreciate all the people who wave and holler and say nice things to you,” said White. “It always makes me feel good.”

Grinnell resident Rachel Bly said she is usually walking in the parade and being able to watch this year from the sidelines was a treat.

“From celebrating local journalists as our marshals, to the horses at the end, the Grinnell parade is always fantastic,” noted Bly. “Highlights for me were the C & K flag truck, the fire trucks from Grinnell and so many other surrounding towns, the Mayflower float, and the semis with train whistles that convinced us all a train was coming! The weather was perfect and it was great to see the community come together to celebrate the parade.”

“I love our small town parades and seeing all the familiar faces in the parade,” said Cindy Bartley Pollock. “It’s fun seeing all the creativity of our local businesses and organizations. What a treasure to have a running 1913 American LeFrance leading the Grinnell Fire Trucks. Being a horse girl, I love seeing the horses in the parade. The semis this year were impressive. I loved seeing them all together. Kudos to the C & K (trucking) crew. We’ve lived in Grinnell for 20 years, they always have an impressive entry. It was a great parade as always.”

“Grinnell has a great parade and I love capturing photos of the variety of entries and sharing them with others,” said Duane McClun, a local Grinnell photographer.

Quinton O’Halloran, 5, commented that the trucks were too noisy.

            Parade attendee Larry Brown said Grinnell goes to a lot of work to put together the parade.

            “It was nice parade, a good parade,” said Suzanne Nekloa, who attended the parade with friends.

            “It was awesome and kind of loud and fun,” said Lena Schaw, 9, who enjoyed the parade with her family.

            The Fourth of July Parade and related activities are sponsored by the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce.