'United We Stand' Star Spangled Spectacular comes together

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Music, magic, dance, 'USO' show, and a bigger, better patriotic ceremony

A "United We Stand" theme will highlight this year's Star Spangled Spectacular, and preparations for the annual Fourth of July celebration have kicked into high gear as the event approaches for area residents.

Commodores Todd and Laurie Oxley and Co-Commodores Ed and Barb Anderson are the leaders of the day-long holiday festivities, and Todd Oxley said he and other organizers are feeling confident about the entire Spectacular.

"Preparations are going pretty good right now," Oxley said. "The entertainment is pretty well lined up, and we're excited that the veterans of Buena Vista County will be our distinguished guests at this year's event. We want to promote the fact that we're honoring the veterans, and we're placing more emphasis on the Patriotic Ceremony this year as well."

The Patriotic Ceremony, which will include music by The Hecht Brothers, has been moved to 9:30 a.m. in order to attract a larger crowd, and will feature three local speakers and possibly Senator Tom Harkin. The annual parade has been moved back to 10:30 to provide more time for the ceremony, and Oxley said the move was made to make sure distractions were minimized while the veterans were honored.

"When it was after the parade it didn't seem to get the attention it deserved, because people would always be milling around in the background, and that took away from the ceremony," Oxley said. "We think that moving the ceremony up and having five veterans from each town in the county as grand marshals will help give the veterans the attention they deserve."

A more broadly-based fundraising campaign will also be a part of the event, as nearly 1,500 fundraising letters will be sent to people across Storm Lake and surrounding communities seeking financial support for the event. Oxley said he and others decided to widen the mailing effort to both inform people about the Star Spangled Spectacular and find new donors to help strengthen the financial base of the celebration.

"For years I've been coming over here to this from Newell and I've seen a lot of other people from Newell and other towns that are here as well," Oxley said. "They're here and enjoying the event, and I though that it made sense to try to broaden the fundraising campaign to those people that are from other towns.

"We'd like to see that effort grow each year, and hopefully the interest in the event will grow as well even more."

There will be numerous entertainment options for patrons during the celebration, including several acts which hail from Storm Lake. Local groups Tormenta and Grupo Ritmo Latino will play Latin American music, musician Brian Pixa and magician Randy Bunders will entertain at Chautauqua Park, and the dance group Psallo will perform at the tennis courts. A local high school band, Reverb, will also play at the tennis courts before the fireworks display begins.

Additional entertainment throughout the day includes the blues ensemble The Taz Band, balloon artist Ricky Roway, storyteller Maralyn Grimokas, fiddler Josh Hancock, pony rides, a tubador and performances from the Storm Lake Community Band. The Chautauqua Park Shelterhouse will also serve as a "cooling station," where patrons may go to rest and view displays geared toward veterans and war memorabilia.

The first warning shot for the fireworks display will go up around 9:30 that evening, while the second shot will happen at approximately 9:45, with the first firework to blast off around 10 p.m.

In addition to the events on the Fourth, there will also be a local-only USO-style talent show at the Storm Lake Bandshell which will feature local choirs and the high school jazz band.

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