We asked long time July 4th Celebration Chair to gather her thoughts surrounding the cancellation of the flagship Chamber event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is what she shared.
July 4th Reflections
By Alice Hanley
When the Covid 19 pandemic was declared in March, my first thought was: “At least we won’t need to worry about the 4th of July. This will be all over by then.”
Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over and the difficult decision was made to cancel Clear Lake’s traditional 4th of July activities.
Our committee is honored to help with an event that has a huge economic impact for our area. Serving on the Clear Lake July 4th planning committee allows us to bring some special memories to families and children of all ages. This celebration is a very special tradition for our community. Most places will celebrate the 4th of July on one day. We need a week!
On a personal note, I’ve been coming to Clear Lake on the 4th of July since I was a little girl. Being able to help bring friends and family together so they can make their own wonderful memories has always tugged at my heartstrings.
Some of my favorite aspects of this event that I’ll miss most this year:
I’ll miss seeing the blankets and lawn chairs set out earlier and earlier every year to reserve that special parade watching spot. It will be strange not waking up before dawn to help at parade set-up. I’ll miss seeing the respect shown for our Veterans as they proudly start the parade. It’s always fun watching kids collect their candy, seeing families and friends gathered for yard parties along the route, and the overall sense of excitement at the beginning of a fun day.
Whether it’s carryout from a local restaurant, Grandpa Jim’s secret barbecue sauce, or Aunt Ann’s famous potato salad, it’s always fun sharing a meal and conversation with friends and family at backyard gatherings. And of course someone becomes the hero when they bring more ice to keep those beverages cold!
I’m pretty sure we’ll still have lots of those backyard gatherings, but what we’ll really miss this year is the carnival food. Corn dogs, fresh lemonade, sno-cones, anything on a stick, cheese curds, funnel cakes, and deep fried pickles. I love the challenge of eating my way around the park!
I’m pretty sure I can tell it’s a carnival truck rolling into town by the sound of the engine, and I get so excited! Evans United Shows have been coming to Clear Lake for decades, and they have become very dear friends. The Evans love bringing smiles to kids’ faces, and they love Clear Lake. For me, it’s magical seeing City Park transformed into a fairy tale village!
When I was a little girl, our family always came to Clear Lake for the carnival. My sister and I were allowed to choose only 2 rides. Then as an extra treat, we rode the Ferris wheel with our dad. The carnival brings back those warm memories of that little girl. Although now, I do get to go on LOTS more rides!
I always joke that someday “I’m going to run away and join the carnival.” Only thing is... I’m pretty sure I’m not prepared to work as hard as they all do!
The municipal band concert and families enjoying the carnival rides and food before the fireworks begin. Then hearing the oohs and aahs of the crowd, the twinkling boat lights on the lake, and the reflection of happy faces as we enjoy our breathtaking fireworks. And doesn’t it always seem that they get better every single year? And I know this sounds strange, but I love to watch the traffic. I’m impressed with how efficiently law enforcement helps everyone leave the area safely.
We are so fortunate to live in Clear Lake and be part of such a great community. The sense of pride and our willingness to roll out the red carpet for our visitors is evident. There are so many dedicated people that make the July 4th Celebration possible. Our city leaders, law enforcement personnel, first responders, city workers, sanitation crews, fabulous Chamber staff, dozens of volunteers, and more. These individuals give up their own 4th of July activities to make sure that our residents and guests have a memorable experience. Also, the businesses and individuals who generously provide funding so our events are “free” to attend. Thank you to everyone who makes a difference. Clear Lake is truly a special place.
Alice Hanley - July 4th Committee Chair
(I think this is 23 or 24 years, but have lost track…)
Photo: Sarah Schutt, The Globe Gazette