Kenai ready for 4th

Parade returns for patriotic party

Posted: Monday, July 03, 2006

It may be a bit bright this time of year for the fireworks traditionally associated with Independence Day, but that won’t stop the Kenai Chamber of Commerce’s annual Fourth of July Celebration from firing up the peninsula’s patriotic pistons.

The celebration has a community breakfast, vendors, water games for kids, a petting zoo, crafts, a pie sale and, of course, the city’s largest yearly parade.

The theme for the celebration this year is “Old Glory 1776-2006.” Kenai chamber director Janie Odgers said the theme is meant as a guide for float-makers, but all comers are taken for the event.

So should parade-goers expect to see a float showing the evolution of the U.S. flag from its 13-star inception to the 50-star standard version of today?

“I hear the senior center’s float will have that,” Odgers hinted.

Besides the parade, the Kenai Senior Citizens Center’s pie sale is a popular return feature for July 4th. The center will offer made-from-scratch, volunteer-baked strawberry rhubarb, apple, cherry and pumpkin pie at $3 a slice and $15 a pie. The proceeds go for senior center projects.

According to Kathy Romain, the center’s assistant director, the sale has become a staple on Kenai’s annual Independence Day menu and the biggest fundraiser of the year for the center.

“As long as they have had a Fourth of July celebration, they’ve had the pie sale,” Romain said.

Preparation involves 20 pie-makers, working in teams, preparing one flavor each week in June, then baking all day Sunday and Monday. All told, the volunteers will have 150 pies for sale, 500 hot dogs and as much cotton candy as sweet-tooths can take.

The sale is billed as the “famous” and “amazing” in posters touting the event. That moniker was earned, Romain said, in large part due to the strawberry rhubarb pie — the variety packed with locally cut rhubarb.

“That’s what we’re famous for,” she said.

The day’s festivities kick off with a Kenai Rotary Club breakfast at 8 a.m. on the Kenai Green Strip. The breakfast offers eggs, sausage, pancakes and biscuits and gravy for $6 a person, $4 for children under age 12 or $20 for families, regardless of the number in the family.

The green strip is also the location for the vendor and craft booths, water games, face painting and other activities. The booths open around 10 a.m.

The floats will line up at 11 a.m. on Trading Bay, across from Kenai Community Library. The parade will loop around by the post office to the Kenai Police Department and weave up Willow Street to the Kenai Spur Highway before it proceeds to the green strip.

The winning floats will be announced at 2 p.m.

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