It’s on, Juneau.
After COVID-19 muted last year’s large-scale July 4 celebrations, community organizations are offering up a full slate of activities to mark America’s 245th birthday.
Festivities include fireworks, parades, concerts, feats of strength and stamina, contests of skill, food vendors and general merriment across two days and spanning downtown Juneau as well as Douglas Island.
“I’m so excited and looking forward to having the town open again for the families and kids,” said Maggie Swanson, chair of the Douglas Fourth of July Committee. “There’s something for everyone.”
Saturday, July 3
The fun kicks off at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 3,when the Juneau Community Bands hosts a concert at the Marine Park Shelter downtown. It’s a chance to see the marching band play a collection of favorite marches, show tunes and light classical music, all in the spirit of July 4. Bring a chair or blanket. The concert is free of charge.
At 5 p.m. Saturday evening, head over to the Douglas Soapbox Car Show. Contestants will be showing off their rides and checking out the competition on St. Ann’s Ave. Stick around to watch a few practice runs. Age divisions include children aged 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10.
At midnight, fireworks will light up the Gastineau Channel. People watching from home or their car, can listen to patriotic music over the airwaves during the show. KINY radio personality Dano will be live on the fireworks barge Saturday night, sharing updates before the show begins.
“Starting at 11:59 p.m., all our music stations will play patriotic music on the air,” said disc jockey Matt Walker in a phone interview on Tuesday. He predicted that some celebrants will share the music through car speakers. “It’s pretty much a cacophony of our music in the air.”
Sunday, July 4
Plan for a full day of fun on Sunday, including a short run, two parades, field events, food booths and live bands.
Athletes might consider kicking the day off by participating in the Glenn Frick Memorial Mile. The short, untimed run proceeds along the parade route before the parade.
Registration starts at 11 a.m. Sunday morning on the backside of the Foodland IGA. The race starts at 11:30 a.m. on the Gold Creek Bridge on Egan Drive, with the course following the 2021 Juneau parade route.
The race is a fundraiser for the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé cross country team. Participants “pay-what-they-can” as a registration fee, with a suggested donation of $15.
At noon, the Juneau parade will step along a downtown route. This year’s parade theme is “Building Bridges Across the Last Frontier.” Organizers expect floats, musical groups, vehicles, civic organizations, animals and military groups to participate.
Parade participants will meet in the Department of Labor Parking Area at West Eigth Street and Egan Drive, near the Douglas Bridge. Check-in begins at 7 a.m., with staggered times for different types of entrants.
The parade will proceed southeast down Egan Drive, taking a left at Main Street, a right on Front Stree and a right turn on Franklin Street. From there, the route includes a right on Marine Way and another right, which will put the parade back on Egan Drive. The parade concludes at West Eighth Street.
At the Royal Caribbean Group Stage near the Coast Guard station, KINY will broadcast a parade play-by-play over-the-air waves and loudspeakers. The pair will provide updates about traveling downtown starting at 11 a.m. Tune in at 800 AM or 94.9 FM for all the details.
Grand marshals for the parade include longtime community servants Sherry Patterson and Benjamin Danny Coronell, a retired Juneau Police officer.
According to a press release issued by the Juneau 4th of July Parade Committee, both are “being recognized for their efforts in building bridges between the diverse groups that make up our beautiful Capital City.”
The release continues: “In each one’s unique path, both have used education, cultural celebration, and historical stories to create an atmosphere of understanding and appreciation between brown, Black, white, Asian-American, Pacific Islanders and Indigenous Americans.”
Visit Juneau4thofJuly.net for more information.
Douglas Parade and festival
After the Juneau parade concludes, more fun is scheduled for Douglas. First Student is providing free shuttle bus service from the Federal Building to Sayéik: Gastineau Community School and back between noon and 6 p.m.
Starting at 11:30 a.m., the Douglas Community United Methodist Church will sell barbecue sandwich meals and the Volunteer Fire Department will sell hot dogs beginning at 1 p.m.
Parade participants will assemble at 2:30 p.m. at Sayéik: Gastineau Community School and the parade will proceed down Douglas Highway 30 minutes later. Kids participating in the children’s parade should assemble at the north end of the school parking lot.
Parade organizers will award $100 for the best entrant across various categories, and each child will receive $1 for participating. Members of the committee will award $5 to the first place winner for contests, including best-decorated stroller, best character costume and best-decorated stroller.
Longtime Douglas residents Wallace (Sandy) Williams Jr. and Susanne Williams will serve as the grand marshals of the Douglas parade.
According to a news release issued by the Douglas Fourth of July Committee, the couple is being honored for their long-time service and commitment to making Douglas a better place to live, play, and gather.
When the parade concludes, the festivities move to Sandy Beach, where food vendors will sell treats as people mingle and participate in a sandcastle challenge. Garden of Agony and Manic 3 will provide entertainment sponsored by Alaska Music One.
At 4 p.m., field events begin at Savikko Park Field No. 3. Events include age-based dashes, a three-legged race and sack races. All participants will earn $1, with first-place finishers earning $5. At nearby St. Ann’s Avenue, people can watch the Soapbox Derby.
At 5 p.m., take in the Olde Time Fireman’s Hose Race at the Douglas Volunteer Fire Hall.
Swanson encourages everyone to come to Douglas and enjoy the festivities.
“Don’t be afraid of the traffic,” she said, encouraging people to take advantage of the free shuttle service.
Visit Douglas4thofJuly.com for more details.
• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at email@example.com or 907-308-4891.