In Kenai America's 230th birthday celebration included a festive parade that expressed the diversity of the 49th State and Kenai Peninsula
It was a picture postcard perfect day for a parade in Kenai as Alaskans celebrated the 230th birthday and the freedoms of the United States of America. Several thousand residents and visitors lined both sides of the route as a greatly diversified array of parade participants made their way through the streets of Kenai. From the posting and parading of the Colors by the VFW, to the largest assembly of antique cars, tractors, and motorcycles ever in a Kenai parade everyone in their own way saluted the Red, White, and Blue of Old Glory. “It’s a great day for Kenai and America, there are people here from all walks of life and that is what America is all about, we have our military here as well as the peace activists, and having the freedom to express yourself whatever your opinion is what America and it’s 230 years is all about and that’s what stands out to me in this parade today,” said Bruce Passe as he enjoyed the parade with his wife and family. As her children ran to receive candy being passed out along the way, Zena a mom from Kenai said that the parade meant that her children would have the opportunity to grow up in free country.
As elected officials and want-to-be candidates marched with their supporters, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter and Borough Mayor John Williams were, “Talking politics of course, John and I always talk politics and after all it’s the 4th of July and I’m honored to be riding in this 1931 Model A Ford roadster with the oldest native elder born in Kenai 90-year-old Fiocla Wilson,” said Porter. “They didn’t have any of these here when I was a little girl, but it’s fun to be riding in one today,” remarked Wilson.
After all the enthusiastic parade participants had passed the judges stand and the votes were tabulated, the best overall entry went to the Broussard Family. In the commercial category, the Petro Express float took top honors with Kenai Kates Old Time Photo and her dance hall girls on motorcycles coming in a close second. The Kenai Peninsula Harley Owners was judged the best organization entry and the Kenai Senior Center Dancers took second. For Youth entries it was the 4-H parade of animals that one first place in the Kenai Chamber competition followed by the Kenai Montessori School. Molly Watkins was judged the best individual entry followed by the Dixie River Rats live musical float in second, and even though the judges admitted it was hard to tell an Automobile from a Hot Rod, the 1st place award in the Auto category went to Jeff Kipp, and 1st place Hot Rod honors to Cook’s Racing team.
Once again the cooperation of Kenai Police Department and the community was obvious as the Main Street Loop from the Kenai Spur Highway to 1st Avenue was closed during the procession and following activities. It was a full day of family fun that started with the traditional Kenai Rotary Club breakfast followed by the parade and an entire afternoon of entertainment, games, face painting, and petting zoo along the Green Strip. Wednesday’s Kenai Chamber of Commerce luncheon was lightly attended, “I think everyone expected us to be closed the day after the parade, it was so much fun, and I heard from many folks that they not only had a great time but thought it was the best parade ever. We had so much help and volunteer participation I just want to thank everyone for a great day and huge effort,” said Janie Odgers, executive director for the Kenai Chamber of Commerce.
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