Kenai to host Independence Day festivities

If your candy stash is low, get ready to replenish it on Thursday at Kenai’s annual Independence Day parade.

 

Kenai is celebrating the Fourth of July with the parade as well as a kid’s carnival, live entertainment and a beer garden.

The Kenai Chamber of Commerce hosts the festival every year. This year, the chamber is incorporating the past present and future, Johna Beech, President and COO of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce said, with the theme is “America, Our Heritage and Hope.”

The day begins with the parade at 11 a.m. As of Monday afternoon about 50 entries were registered, but the chamber welcomes entries until 10 a.m. July 4. Last year, there was a total of 75 groups in the parade.

Beech said she saw paradegoers staking out spots at 9:30 a.m. last year.

“By 10 a.m., it’s hunting for a spot,” Beech said.

The parade begins at Fildalgo Street, turns left on South Willow Street to Kenai Spur Highway where the parade will turn right and end at Main Street Loop.

Beginning at noon at the Kenai Park Strip, the Kenai Central High School football team is running the kids’ carnival with games including a football throw and rubber ducky pond. Game tickets are 50 cents each.

Thirty vendors have registered to provide a “little bit of everything and anything,” Beech said. There will be a variety of Fourth of July food favorites including hotdogs, hamburgers, funnel cakes and barbecue. Kassik’s Brewery is sponsoring the beer garden, the Kenai Fire Department will have water games and various crafters and artists will have works on display and for sale. Beech said vendor registration closed Friday, but the chamber will try to fit in late entries.

Three different acts will provide entertainment throughout the day.

The senior center is kicking off stage entertainment with bell ringing at noon.

Julius, the yo-yo guy, will be performing at 2 p.m. Beech expects a large crowd for Julius as he cultivated a small following in the area after performing for multiple Boys and Girls Clubs on the Peninsula.

The classic country and alternative rock band, Troubadour North, will rock the stage between the bell ringers and Julius as well as after the yo-yo performer until 4 p.m., the end of the festival.

The July 4 forecast calls for rain showers, but Beech said, “We wish for the best (weather). … It’s one of those things that people come out to celebrate out independence rain or shine.”

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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