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Take your hat off

Posted: July 1, 2011 - 8:00am

The American flag demands respect in every situation. Thus the reason for this year's Fourth of July parade and festivities; "Take Your Hat Off" when the Flag goes by. 

The Grand Marshals for the celebration will be Herb Stettler and Jan Bobek. 

"It is such an honor words really can't express," Bobek said.

Johna Beech, executive director of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce said Bobek and Stettler were chosen as Grand Marshals because of their role in teaching flag etiquette to children and their involvement with the Pocket Flags program that Bobek's fourth and fifth graders at Soldotna Elementary participate in. For the last two and a half years, they have been sending pocket-sized flags to soldiers overseas where they can not fly an American flag. 

Bobek credits Stettler with the idea for the program and said her students show the upmost respect for him when he enters the room.

"They are just in awe of him- just seeing him, he has a presence of being Father Time," Bobek said.

Bobek said they have sent out 300 flags in the month of May alone.

She shared a story Stettler told her about one soldier who carries a flag in his helmet.

"Whenever he has a break, or wonders why he is there, all he has to do is look at his flag," she said. "He realizes he's not doing this just for everyone in the world, but especially for American children." 

Bobek said the respect for the American troops can be seen through their efforts with the program.

"To watch girls do the fine touches and the beautiful handwriting and to watch some of my boys that give me guff all day long, but when Herb comes in here, we're all just nodding like 'we're in this together'. It's just moving." she said.

This year will mark Beech's first Fourth of July with Kenai Chamber of Commerce, she has been planning this year's festivities with Carol Bannock. 

"The Kenai Fire Department is going to have water games, that was something that wasn't there last year," Beech said. "From what Carol said, it was sorely missed, so we're definitely bring that back this year."

The parade will commence at 11 a.m. at the Kenai Park Strip. Beech said there will be "lots of entertainment" and "oodles and oodles of food". 

"It's just going to be a good, good day," Beech said.

Here is the schedule of events for Kenai's Fourth of July celebration:

Midway (Kenai Park Strip) opens at 10:00 a.m.

Parade begins at 11:00 a.m.

Midway Entertainment:

  • 12:30 - 1:00 The Kenai Golden Girls
  • 1:00 - 1:15 Announcement of Parade Winners 
  • 1:15 - 2:00 The Smith Family Band
  • 2:00 - 2:20 The Ole' Sourdough & The Cheechako
  • 2:30 - 4:00 Troubadour North

On the Midway:

  • Beer Garden Featuring: Kassik's Beer & Bear Creek Wine 
  • Brenda Beans Kettle Corn 
  • KCHS Drum Line Lemonade
  • The Kenai Kid's Karnival
  • Cotton Candy
  • Jumpin Junction
  • Matti's Farm Hay Rides
  • Petting Zoo by Kenai Feed & Supply
  • Firefighter Games
  • Senior Connection's Homemade Pies & Strawberry Shortcake
  • Hot Dogs Ala Carte
  • Face Painting
  • Gourmet Cupcakes
  • Arts & Crafts

Peninsula Oilers Baseball

  • 4:00 p.m. Coral Seymour Memorial Park Panners vs. Oilers
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