Founded by moms, parade now in 25th edition
By Brenna Holland
Like all good things, mothers created the Liberty Lake Fourth of July Parade.
It all began when several mothers of the community sat down and brainstormed how to celebrate the Fourth of July. After pinpointing that a neighborhood parade was the perfect way to honor patriotism, the women collectively decided that the main focus of the parade should always be about the kids.
The main purpose of the Fourth of July Parade has endured, as kids of Liberty Lake are honored and are the center of the activity on July 4.
"The parade was for the kids to see people in the community showing patriotism," said Kelli Schneidmiller, one of those founding moms. "We wanted the kids to wave a flag and say ‘hi' to a neighbor."
This year, the tradition of honoring kids throughout the day will be reinforced by the ribbon system established by Dave Graham.
For 25 years, Kelli Schneidmiller and her husband, Ross, have been instrumental in helping the Fourth of July Celebration run smoothly. While they have held myriad responsibilities over the years, the one consistent has been helping select the grand marshal of the parade.
The first grand marshal in 1989 was Sigwell Knudsen, who has 88 years old when he held the honor. His family came to Liberty Lake in 1889 and homesteaded on the hill east of the lake. Sig built a resort on the west shore of the lake. His family remains in Liberty Lake - Kelli Schneidmiller is his granddaughter - and are active community supporters.
"All grand marshals stick out and have an enduring factor," Schneidmiller said. "Their heart was here."
Ross Schneidmiller added, "Many are part of this culture of volunteerism and are at the forefront of grassroots organizations."
The honor of being grand marshal has been bestowed on everyone from veterans to Garden Club members, Cub Scout volunteers, farmers who tilled and developed important land in the community, to Lee Smith, the 1999 grand marshal, who delivered cookies to shut ins throughout the community. The grand marshals have represented every facet of goodwill throughout the community.
In 2002, the first couple was named as grand marshals for the parade. Floyd and Betty Johnson were both pillars in the Liberty Lake Community. Floyd was a key activist in the Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District, and Betty volunteered for Pavillion Park in its early stages of development.
This years grand marshals are Harley and Lorraine Halverson.
"It is fitting that they be honored on the fourth," Ross Schneidmiller said, adding that Harley Halverson played a key role in bringing fireworks back to the lake in 1990.
Even after 25 years of being part of the work of the parade, the Schneidmillers still find time to enjoy themselves. When asked her favorite part of the day, Kelli Schneidmiller didn't hesitate.
"The whole day is fun, but watching the fireworks show at the end is the best," she said. "Once the fireworks are done, you can hear clapping and cheering around the entire lake. It's the end of a really good day."