Brainerd Fourth of July festivities unites lakes area for a day
When it was all said and done--with the exception of the Lions Club's vintage truck, which stalled and coughed its way down East River Road--Brainerd's Fourth of July largely went off without a hitch.
When it was all said and done-with the exception of the Lions Club's vintage truck, which stalled and coughed its way down East River Road-Brainerd's Fourth of July largely went off without a hitch.
"No snafus," said Holly Holm, the executive director of Brainerd Community Action and the chief organizer of events. She was basking in the afterglow of the parade as around her groups of spectators packed their lawn chairs and headed out; maybe a little hot and burnt out, but smiling. "Now it's time to get the band going and enjoy some music."
And so the parade had unfolded-candy and knick knacks galore, upon which the children (and some adults) flocked into the road like pigeons to sprinkled bread crumbs; political candidates horsing around with spectators, horses trotting along like dignified politicians. A host of local businesses and organizations decked out in stars and stripes. Novelty three-wheel vehicles rolling down the asphalt. Masses of sweaty T-shirts and glossy sunglasses.
Much of Brainerd, Baxter and the rest of the lakes area congregated to celebrate the nation's 242nd birthday-although, there was a real chance Mother Nature could have literally rained the parade. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Duluth predicted central Minnesota had a roughly 60 percent chance of showers up until about time for fireworks, and not just rain, but storm cells and lightning as well.
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KLICK! Photo Gallery - Brainerd Fourth of July Parade
95 photos - Klick here to view!
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As evidenced by Wednesday's sunny (and hot) afternoon, the odds tipped in the parade's favor-a stroke of fortune that wasn't lost on Holm.
"I"m very thankful that the weather was easy on us, a little humid, but way better than a rainstorm," said Holm, who noted the parade and related Fourth of July events would have pressed on anyway, even if there were showers. She said the 2018 event mirrors many aspects of Independence Day festivities last year. "Weather wise it's actually comparable because last year, we were supposed to get hit with a storm, too, right during parade time and it just dissipated right at parade time," said Holm, who added with a laugh: "I knew to pack my flip flops because it was going to be nice out."
A day under the sun-plus the confluence of different community members and businesses-brought Julie Pringle and Lee Forsell out onto the curb at the intersection of College Drive and East River Road to watch the procession.
"I always want to support our local businesses," said Pringle, a resident of Merrifield. "For me, I always like to see our local businesses come together, I like to see the community come together. This is the one time of year it happens."
"I just saw the Facebook notice and came out," said Forsell, a resident of Brainerd. "It's cool to watch things go by. The Jeep had a cool machine gun on it. Kids get to have candy. So it works out for everybody here."
Two days away from another significant celebration-their own 55th wedding anniversary-Baxter residents Donald and Florence Wenner said it's the power of Independence Day to bring communities together that makes the Fourth of July parade a special event every year.
"This brings everybody together. The communities are all kind of battered, but they come out and have a good time," Florence Wenner said. "It's what it's all about."
In particular, it was steeds-bicycles for her, horses for him-that stood out this year, the Wenners said.
Parker Pallansch, 8, and his little sister Paisley waited nonchalantly on South Fifth Street for the bounty up for the taking-candy, freezy pops, rubber arm bands, even coupons-though he admitted watching his father, Brainerd police officer Derek Pallansch, ride a bicycle running security took the cake.
Paisley said she liked watching her father as well-adding, however, that among the various sweets she had enjoyed that afternoon, there was one that stood above the rest.
"Smarties," she said.
Holm took a moment to recognize the primary sponsors of the day's festivities-the city of Brainerd, the city of Baxter, as well as Visit Brainerd-though she noted it was a community-wide effort, from prominent local businesses, all the way down to individual volunteers. In essence, a day that exemplifies the value of a community wouldn't have been possible without a community behind it.
"Although (Baxter, Brainerd and Visit Brainerd) were a large part of this success, we have a lot of sponsors and a ton of in-kind sponsorship," Holm said. "Without them, this would not happen. So we have a very, very giving community."
For more photos of the Brainerd Fourth of July parade go to https://bit.ly/2KGc4pF