Spouses look back on the founders of SL's Fourth of July tradition
The Grand Marshals for "25 Spectacular Years" are smiling extra wide as they think back over the past 25 years of Spectacular fun and countless memories they and they are spouses created.
Storm Lakers Marge Hunzelman, Regina Laird and Don Elk will serve as the 2003 Star Spangled Spectacular Grand Marshals. Their late spouses - Bill Hunzelman, Del Laird and Liz Elk - were the original founders of the Spectacular.
Don Elk said the Spectacular has done "amazingly well" over the years. His late wife, Liz, was president of the Storm Lake Area Arts Council when that group started the Star Spangled Spectacular.
"It seems like it hasn't lost any of its steam," he said. "It seems like the parade is every bit as attractive, the events are interesting and the food booths are inviting. It's been an attraction for family get-togethers and we always look forward to seeing local families and their kids from around the country."
Regina Laird, whose late husband Del was the first "commodore" for the Spectacular a few years into the tradition, is glad this year's event will celebrate the contributions of their late spouses.
"I think that's wonderful," she said. "I'm sorry they aren't here."
Marge, wife of the late Bill Hunzelman, said the Fourth of July is a special occasion for their family.
"We both loved the Fourth of July," she said. "It is always very special. It's a chance for everyone to come home."
Marge is honored to be one of the Grand Marshals this year.
"I'm flattered beyond words," she said. "I think we can thank Don Elk for it. His wife, Liz, was really the person who started the whole thing."
Celebrating 25 years is a special event, and Regina said the Spectacular has only gotten better with age.
"I'm impressed on how enthusiastic the commodores are this year," she said.
The family atmosphere of the Spectacular is a key to success, the Grand Marhsals say.
"It's an old-fashioned celebration," Regina said. "They held to that and I think that's good."