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Fourth of July events in place

Park Rapids businesses show ingenuity in building their floats for the Fourth's annual downtown parade. (Enterprise file photo)

Summer has officially arrived and Independence Day is on the horizon.

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce will once again orchestrate the celebratory events, with Park Rapids Rotary a main sponsor.

Pull out the crepe paper and cardboard, crank up the creativity and start decorating a float.

An Old Fashioned 4th of July and Salute to the Military is this year's theme with a kick-off to the Catch a Memory Governor's Fishing Opener next spring.

The parade will march at 5 p.m. with the line-up beginning at 3 p.m. on Monico Lane this year. The procession will head south on Main to 5th Avenue (Bearly Used), turning west to Heritage Living Center, where it will disperse.

Classic cars, clowns, dogs, musicians and, of course, floats are welcome. A goal is 125 entrants.

Entry fee is $15. Contact parade coordinator Emma Moore at 732-4111 or to register or for more information.

Parade entrants are asked to check in at the Church of Christ at Main and Pearle (707 Main Ave. North) to gain an ID number.

Parking will be available at the high school and Century School parking lots.

The parade will include the Crestliner fishing boat package and the Smokey Hills Outdoor Store Ice Castle that will be raffled by the Chamber for the Governor's Fishing Opener in May. Tickets will available during the events.

Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories.

This year's MC is Dave W. Konshok. Annette Haas will sing the national anthem. Matt Winskowski of Krank It Up Entertainment is providing the sound system.

An auction of the pies entered in the 6th annual pie-baking contest will follow the parade on the main stage in front of Pioneer Park on Main.

Beagle Books is host of the event benefiting the Park Rapids Area Library.

At 7:30 p.m. the Park Rapids Area Community Band will perform a concert in Red Bridge Park, followed by " a spectacular" Rotary fireworks display at dusk, made possible through donations from citizens and businesses.

The parade begins with a military line-up, the American Legion Post 212 Color Guard, Marine Corps League, American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans with Boy Scouts assisting.

This year's parade grand marshals are Chief Master Sergeant Tom Parks, who has just completed a six-month combat deployment to Afghanistan, and Staff Sergeant Harry Pidde, a World War II wounded veteran.

Parks, 56, serves with the North Dakota Air National Guard. He served four years on active duty with the Marines and four years in the Navy Reserves. He has 22 years with the Guard.

His deployments include Norway, Romania, Ghana, Israel, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, Hurricane Katrina relief and flood relief efforts in the Red River Valley.

Parks has earned numerous commendations and medals, including the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with eight Oak Leaf Clusters during his career spanning more than 30 years.

SSGT Pidde served in the military from November 1941 to October 1945, arriving in the European Theater in September 1943, returning to the USA in November 1944.

Pidde, 92, was wounded in combat action in Germany in September 1944, spending over eight months in the hospital recovering from wounds.

He earned the Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal, European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with three Bronze Battle Stars and the Good Conduct Medal.

Pidde has been an active member of American Legion Post 212 in Park Rapids.