BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
July 4 downtown was All-American, with thousands of spectators clad in red, white, and blue lining the streets from St. Dan’s to Renaissance High School for the annual Independence Day Parade.
The march featured 94 entries, kicked off at 10 a.m. by the American Legion Post 63 Honor Guard and World War II veterans Spencer Libby, David Daniels, Charlotte Charter, and Ruth Wood.
“It’s about the same but with many newcomers who haven’t been in the parade before,” said Joette Kunse, parade committee member.
Float winners included Clarkston Chiefs football and cheerleaders in the Kids category; Neiman’s Family Market’s giant cow and decorated shopping carts in the Business category; and Calvery Lutheran Church in the Non-profit category.
“Crowd size estimate is usually given as about 10,000,” Kunse said. “One of the Clarkston High School band members said it was really deep on the streets. I got to the downtown stage for about the last three entries, I saw them leave the parking lot and the last entry left at about 11:05 a.m.”
Dale Verhey provided the stage, and parade committee member Dr. Bruce Mercado was guest announcer at the downtown stage for Dale Ryan, who is recovering from surgery.
“He did a great job,” Kunse said.
Many groups, businesses, and individuals worked to make the parade successful, she said, including the Rev. Dan and Laura Neiwoit of Mt. Zion, who set up the 90 N. Main Stage for kids, Tom Middleton and Clarkston Optimists Club were out at 5 a.m. setting everything up, and Adam Smith did the cleanup after everyone left St. Daniel’s Catholic Church.
Independence Township provided insurance and police support, and Bowman Chevrolet was the parade sponsor, she said.
“St. Dan’s has always been generous with their parking lot. The fire department is also a big supporter of ours,” she said.
Air National Guard Capt. Brett DeVries flew his A-10 attack fighter over the parade minutes after the second performance of the National Anthem.
“I’m always excited to see the flyover and Selfridge Air National Guard always provides this. It’s the Fourth of July for the pilots, but they always go up and do flyovers for us,” Kunse said.
The parade committee comes together each January to start working on the celebration, she explained.
“And works the rest of the year to plan and think of ways to make the parade better,” she said.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO