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Looking forward to LLís 25th Fourth of July Parade
6/26/2013 2:10:49 PM

By Dave Graham
Splash Guest Column

Last year, I had a chance to sit down with Kim Nielsen. You may remember that he was the youth pastor at Liberty Lake CommunityChurch. He was also our first Fourth of July Parade emcee, working the PA microphone as the kids marched by.  

We had no idea that the parades would catch on as they did. Both Kim and I agreed; it is the emphasis on kids that makes the whole thing go. How special is that, allowing a 5 year old to be the star?  They can dress-up and decorate their bikes, their vehicles.
Every year, our family would work on a different theme to decorate our golf cart and create our costumes and face paint, etc. I remember it being a time when I could communicate with my kids in a special way. I explained patriotism while we decorated in red, white and blue. And we always had appropriate music playing in our garage as we worked. Always loaded with Kodak moments, I now have a Fourth of July scrapbook that I consider priceless.

And so it has remained for 25 years, with that emphasis on kids and families, groups and teams. I would describe it as something bigger than ourselves that we achieved by coming together. 

There is an old adage that goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" - or something like that.  The event is very much as it was then.  We have added the celebration activities.  Those are the games and the great fun which follows the parade. But we haven't tried to fix something that works as well as the Fourth of July at Liberty Lake, the name of our parade and celebration.

The issue of safety is very important to us, and we see a very simple way that we can improve on the safety of our event.

We will move the starting line back a short distance to the cul-de-sac. And we will cause the queue (the waiting line) to form around the street island. That's it!  But wait, check this out:

There is an important element of the parade that people miss.  In fact, many don't even know that it is happening due to its placement on the parade route. It is the patriotic element of the flag salute and the national anthem that the Scouts present at the beginning of the parade. With this change, now the Scouts will have room to do their presentation where more people can be exposed to it, and we can use a PA system. We think it is important. After all, it is the primary focus of Independence Day.

The parade line-up is at 11 a.m., with the event beginning at noon. As soon as the parade completes its route, the games and activities will begin on the lawn in the fenced area.
For 25 years, people came to our event expecting an exciting, safe, wonderful Fourth of July, entirely without charge.  We have kept this event free to everyone who showed up. The fact is, it has come a long way on the shoulders of your kindness. We really appreciate your donation.  Please make your check to  Fourth of July at Liberty Lake and mail it to  508 S. Shoreline Drive , Liberty Lake, WA 99019.

One very important issue that we must insist on.  Please, no pets, even on leashes.   We usually have a pie-eating contest, an egg toss and other food games, and our insurance rates are high enough. Thank you for leaving your puppy at home.

A longtime parade organizer and last year's grand marshal along with his wife, Susan, Dave Graham lives in Alpine Shores.