TO THE EDITOR:
The 24th Annual Star Spangled Spectacular has come and gone, leaving in its place relief that everything went very well. Well known for providing a wealth of free entertainment, free activities and great food, this year's successful Spectacular brought many visitors to our city. The fireworks were the best ever and a great time was had by all, though we had our share of unexpected mishaps (ask anyone who was in the area of the Chautauqua Park Shelter House stage between the hours of 12 and 1 p.m.!)
It has truly been a privilege to be involved in the planning of such an event as the Spectacular. Being relative newcomers to the Storm Lake community, we were a bit unsure of ourselves as we began work on the July 4th festivities. As things began to come together, though, we soon realized that we were working with a group of very dedicated volunteers who really care about their community and take great pride in it.
Everyone was so great to work with. It gave us confidence to have such knowledgeable and competent committee members behind us and certainly made our job much easier. We made a bit of extra work for ourselves by trying some new things this year, especially where the Patriotic Ceremony was concerned. In light of the events of September 11, we wanted to make the ceremony the focus of this year's event and to honor the veterans in our area who have served their country to protect the freedom and way of life we enjoy today. We scheduled the ceremony before the parade so there would be less distraction from other activities. The Buena Vista County veterans also served as the Grand Marshals for the Big Parade. We could not have pulled this off without the help of Tom Fitzpatrick and Bob Baschke of Exel Coaches who let us use their buses to get the participating veterans and Boy Scouts back to the beginning of the parade route in time to lead the parade.
The Patriotic Ceremony was a success due to the efforts of many people. Don Rogers gave us the guidance on what needed to be done and Bob Williams and the city parks personnel made it possible to set up chairs for those attending the ceremony and move them when it was over. Our thanks to Tom Daniels for being our emcee and to Adam Sievers for his speech on "United We Stand." Sara Huddleston "hit a home run,' with her speech and made our distinguished guest Senator Tom Harkin work hard to not be outdone. Thank you, Sara! We were honored to have the Senator as our guest at the ceremony and the parade where he accompanied the Grand Marshals.
Speaking of the Big Parade, new committee chairman Kelly Anliker did a spectacular job at lining up the parade and keeping things going all morning. Many thanks, Kelly!
There are many other people to thank. Without all of them, this event could not happen each year. They are:
Co-Commodores - Barb and Ed Anderson (Thanks for all your hard work this year. You'll be fabulous Commodores!)
Fundraising - Dick Hakes, Craig Fratzke, and honorary member Chris Boeckman
(Chris' Phone-A-Thon helped us reach beyond our fundraising goal this year - what a great guy!)
Food Booths - Ann Roth
Artists Alley - Sherise Gibson and Janet Halder
Traffic Control - Thane Benz
Baby sitting at a VERY DIFFICULT MOMENT - Kathi Benz
Publicity - Dawn Prosser
Car Cruise - Howard and Lois Hatlelid
Fireworks - Orren Knoffloch and crew
Parade of Nations - Chuck and Carla Offenberger
Kiddie Parade - Desiree Botine
Canoe Races - Craig Messenbrink
Games on the Green - Edean (and John) Murray and Amy Owen
Ice Cream Social - Alan Bridge
July 3rd Variety Show - Bruce Kurtz
Sleepy Hollow - Char Wetherell
Storm Lake Parks - Bob Williams
Storm Lake Police - Chief Mark Prosser
The Ride/Run - Hugh Perry and John Brostad
The Patriotic Ceremony - Don Rogers
Treasurer - Ken Converse
The Big Parade - Kelly Anliker
Wisdom from Past Commodores - Bob and Judy Halder
This year, as in all of the previous years, our wonderful city parks along the north shore were the real stars of the Star Spangled Spectacular. Bob Williams and his crew did a terrific job of getting them ready for the 15,000 or so visitors to our city. Mark Prosser and his crew of officers did a great job monitoring the entire event and especially keeping their eyes on our kids. The several children who were separated from their parents were returned safely within minutes of notification. Thanks to the SL officers, our annual event is not only fun and free but also one of the safest around. This is greatly appreciated.
Lastly, we want to thank everyone who participated in the event in any way. Spectators, donors, entertainers and committee members all contributed to a SPECTACULAR Fourth of July in Storm Lake this year. We feel very lucky to have been involved. We have learned a lot and made many friends during this past year through the planning of the Spectacular. We have also been very impressed with the generosity of this community with its support, both financial and through donations of personal time. Thank you to all. Good luck next year, Barb and Ed!
Todd and Laurie Oxley