Children run as fast as they can toward Treadwell Arena’s zamboni as it fills the street with candy during the Fourth of July parade on Douglas. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Children run as fast as they can toward Treadwell Arena’s zamboni as it fills the street with candy during the Fourth of July parade on Douglas. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Douglas celebrates community in 125th Fourth of July parade and festivities

Molly McCormick honored as Douglas’ grand marshal for her years planning the parade and other events.

Douglas Island celebrated the Fourth of July for its 125th year on Thursday with a wide range of family-friendly events including a community parade.

The Douglas Fourth of July Committee kicked off its festivities Wednesday night with a community picnic and soapbox trials. On Thursday afternoon, the parade began the official Independence Day events.

Downtown Juneau’s grand marshals were three high school graduates who rode through the parade on Thursday morning with Molly McCormick walking alongside. It was her first time attending the Juneau parade and she did so as Douglas’ grand marshal.

“I feel really honored and special to be representing Douglas,” she said. “I really enjoyed myself — seeing everybody, old friends and students. That’s why I didn’t ride in the car. I passed out bubbles, stress balls and flags.”

Shortly after, McCormick participated in an event far more familiar to her in Douglas. She rode through the parade there, reflecting on approximately 25 years of serving on the Douglas Fourth of July Committee. 2022 was her last year volunteering as a board member and president.

Molly McCormick, a grand marshal who served as a member and president on the Fourth of July Committee (left) and Laurie Gardner from the Juneau Pipe Band (right) pose for a photo together at the July 4 celebration. Ed Schoenfeld gifted McCormick his grand marshal sash he wore last year. (Photo provided by Molly McCormick)

Molly McCormick, a grand marshal who served as a member and president on the Fourth of July Committee (left) and Laurie Gardner from the Juneau Pipe Band (right) pose for a photo together at the July 4 celebration. Ed Schoenfeld gifted McCormick his grand marshal sash he wore last year. (Photo provided by Molly McCormick)

After the Douglas parade concluded, a “Make and Break” firemen’s hose race flooded the street in front of the Douglas Fire Hall. Two volunteer firefighter teams and a career staff team sprayed each other — and their audience — down with fire hoses under the cloudy sky.

There was no complaint about it being overcast from Douglas residents, who said the tradition must go on no matter the weather. No rain fell on those gathered — although, after the career team’s win, Capt. Jayme Johns drenched the cheering crowd with water. Being soaked only made them shriek with joy.

“It’s an old traditional ‘make and break’ for the fire service and it’s been around for 100 years or so,” Johns said. “I’ve been doing it for 28 years. I’ve missed a few because I’ve been on duty. I’m a full-time captain, crew staff. So sometimes I’m on duty for the holidays. But the next year I jump right in there because it’s just a great time to come out and have a little fun. It gets a little roughhouse once in a while. But it’s a good time between all the firefighters.”

Capital City Fire/Rescue Captain Jayme Johns sprays the crowd after winning the firemen’s hose race on July 4. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Capital City Fire/Rescue Captain Jayme Johns sprays the crowd after winning the firemen’s hose race on July 4. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

From left to right: Connor Hoyt, Jayme Johns, Karl Wuoti and Sean Rhey were on the winning career staff team of the “Make and Break” firemen’s hose race during the Fourth of July events in Douglas on Thursday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

From left to right: Connor Hoyt, Jayme Johns, Karl Wuoti and Sean Rhey were on the winning career staff team of the “Make and Break” firemen’s hose race during the Fourth of July events in Douglas on Thursday. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Throughout the day, the Douglas Volunteer Fire District made hot dogs and burgers. Other Douglas Fourth of July activities included the finale of a soapbox challenge that began with time trials Wednesday, field events, an Alaska Music One “Bands on the Beach” concert and an annual sandcastle competition. The Society for Creative Anachronism also performed throughout the day.

McCormick said volunteers are needed to help organize Fourth of July events — only eight members are on the Douglas Fourth of July board.

“If we want to keep all these activities going, especially like the go-karts, we really need people to volunteer,” McCormick said.

People can reach out to help by contacting the website or Douglas Fourth of July Committee president Maggie Swanson at (907) 723-2443.

• Contact Jasz Garrett at jasz.garrett@juneauempire.com or (907) 723-9356.

More photos from the Douglas Fourth of July celebration:

Joel Symons borrows Capital City Fire/Rescue Captain Jayme Johns’ helmet on July 4. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Joel Symons borrows Capital City Fire/Rescue Captain Jayme Johns’ helmet on July 4. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

(Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

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