Ninety-nine years later, the tradition continues. Deb Miller is the chairwoman of the Springfield Fourth of July Parade, having served on the planning committee for nearly 30 years. The parade has only been cancelled two times, in 1943 when gasoline rationing prevented unnecessary travel and in 2008 due to daylong torrential downpours.
This year’s parade theme is “Of the People, By the People, For the People.” Iver Lindberg, owner of Springfield Tractor & Implement LLC, has been chosen to be the grand marshal. Miller said Lindberg is incredibly supportive of not only the annual parade but also of many other local organizations.
“We really wanted to take this opportunity to honor him and all his business has done for the community,” Miller said.
Lindberg plans to retire from the business within the next year.
Since the idea of a bigger parade began after a bicycle parade in 1913, it seems fitting that bicycles should be prominent now. Miller said the number of bicycles in the parade has dwindled in the last 10 years, despite raising the prize and incentive levels. The number of pre-registered bicycle participants has begun to increase, but Miller would like to see more. The deadline to enter for prizes was extended to Monday, July 1, but has passed. However, bicyclists can show up on parade day.
The parade will begin at 11 a.m. on the south end of the hamlet at Smith Road, and will end at the Springfield Community Center, where spectators are urged to come early and park for free. Special guest “Abraham Lincoln” will be on hand to recite The Gettysburg Address, to honor the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. There will be live music, a Brooks’ chicken barbecue, quilt show, games, displays and more to enjoy after the parade.
Next week, we’ll have results of parade prize winners and a sneak peak ahead to the 2014 centennial parade.