With all of the activities and events that surround the 4th of July in the Brainerd Area every year, one that I look forward to the most is the Brainerd Parade. It seems that every community has a parade in association with Independence week, but Brainerd has one of the biggest.
For the past 17 years I have been the emcee for the Brainerd 4th of July parade. It’s a job that I started when I was on the board of directors for Brainerd Community Action. Honestly, at first it was my excuse that got me out of having to walk the parade route with the radio station. I say that I wasn’t lazy, just being active in a different way.
This year the judges were tasked with finding the most creative entries that showed some ingenuity and effort. They had 5 categories to vote on each entry ranging from the work put into the entry to the patriotism in the float. This year the judges saw more non-profit organizations putting better units in the Brainerd Parade. Out of the top ten scored entries all but a couple were from the non-profit sector. Some honorable mentions in the non-profit group include the Baxter Lions and Legacy Chorale as well as the “Save the Historic water tower” group.” The Salvation army and their big red kettle was scored high but the winner of the category was the MN Adult and Teen Challenge.
Commercial units in the past have had some great entries. Who doesn’t remember Alice’s Saloon from years ago. It was a part of the Brainerd fourth since the days of the Johnny Inkslinger parades of the 70’s. It’s seems like putting a company truck in the parade and handing out candy has been the status quo. So when someone puts together something with some real effort and craftsmanship they do really stand out. The winner of the Commercial division and our Best of Parade unit for 2019 is train engine of Paul Bunyan Land. Again some honorable mentions for high scores goes to Grand Casino Mille Lacs, (nice suits boys) and to Northland Kart Kountry. Collins Brother Towing had the largest fleet in the parade this year, boasting more big rigs then even the Mission Fire Department… now that’s a challenge.
To keep things interesting for next year, the challenge is out there right here and now to come up with the next Alice’s Saloon. Congratulations to Paul Bunyan Land for winning the highest accolades of the 2019 Brainerd 4th of July parade.