Credit Union 1 takes overall grand prize entry in 47th Soldotna Progress Days parade.
Mother Nature provided a picture postcard perfect day for the 47th Annual Soldotna Progress Days. The two day event kicked off with a parade down Binkley Street that lived up to this year’s theme “Soldotna, Something for Everybody.” “It’s truly a community event that takes nearly everyone in the community working in one way or another to make it happen, from the people who enter the parade to those who turn out to enjoy it, the Soldotna Chamber board of directors, staff and volunteers, it’s a pleasure working with all these folks,” said Michelle Glaves, executive director for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. Someone started to say, “You know it’s almost too, then stopped and said nah, it’s just perfect today.” A regular visitor from Oregon wanted to express her appreciation for everything the people here do to make visitors feel welcome, so she dressed up and rode in the parade blowing bubbles to be part of the event reported Glaves.
CES Clowns Capt. Burn-E and Edith demonstrated safety techniques like "Stop, Drop, and Roll" during Progress Days parade.
The judges scored over a hundred entries in this year’s parade and it all added up to Credit Union 1’s float being named the Grand Overall Winner with 1st place business entry going to Sonshine House and Grace Lutheran Church and School winning the organization category. The KDLL Lawn Chair Marching Group was judged the best marching group, a ‘69 Pontiac GTO owned by Gregory Bartlett took best automobile entry, and the best individual entry was The Viking Ship of Longmere Lake.
Some of the Kenai’s hearty pioneers were proclaimed royalty to rule over the Progress Days weekend, with Frank and Betty Kraxberger coroneted as King and Queen and Al Hershberger as Parade Marshall. The Kraxberger’s have been in the area since 1955 and have been drilling water wells for some 45 years. Today Frank says he’s mainly the gofer in the business that is run by his sons, daughters, and grandchildren, “We don’t want to go to California or Arizona. We feel so lucky to live in a place where so many people from there want to come to live or visit. We decided Soldotna was the best place in the world live,” he said.
Parade Marshall Al Hershberger came to Alaska in 1947 and has seen the dedication of the first Kenai River Bridge in Soldotna in 1950, the completion of the second in ’65 and was one of the first to walk across the third that officially opened a few months ago. “I enjoy living here,” says Al, “I have always enjoyed it. While I think in one sense we had more fun in the old days, as we get older we need some of the amenities we didn’t have in those days. I never expected it to grow quite as much as it did, and I know it’ll grow more in the future, but like I say I enjoy living here.”
In the free Progress Days flyer printed and passed out by the Peninsula Clarion, Soldotna Mayor David Carey concluded “The ideals of personal freedom and democracy provide the template upon which Progress Days is built. Without them, we could not fully appreciate that we believe in something for everyone. As you drive by our red, white and blue fire hydrants, please say a prayer for all those who serve the city and community by protecting our property, family, businesses, schools and churches.”
Following the parade, activities moved to Soldotna Creek Park and the rodeo grounds where more than 50 booths and vendors provided everything from cotton candy to exotic foods and games for kids.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.