The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Entertainment & Events

June 1, 2012

New look for 4th of July

Sisters attempt to revive annual event

CLINTON — There will be no Jaycees carnival or Riverboat Days-sponsored parade and fireworks in Clinton this year.

However, because of increasing community action, Clinton won’t be without Fourth of July festivities.

Sisters Erin George and Emily Steenhard on Monday were pondering fundraising for a Fourth of July parade in Clinton and by Thursday, they had raised $3,000 and counting to host a full-blown celebration.

Online: Save the Clinton 4th of July parade's Facebook page

The sisters were inspired to start fundraising after learning the Jaycees and Riverboat Days would completely suspend their activities.

“It’s about my desire for my kids to experience the Fourth of July like I did,” George said.

Last year the Jaycees took a more pronounced role in the Fourth of July celebrations after the Riverboat Days Board announced it would not run the festival portion of its activities due to decreasing vendor interest and increasing financial struggles.

Jaycee’s president Ryan Steines cited the low turnout last year and an inability to reserve a carnival in advance as reasons for not hosting the event this year. 

Previous Riverboat Days commodore Mike Fullerton said lack of financial support is to blame for the organization’s inability to host a parade and fireworks.

Levine: Community support vital in Fourth of July festivities

Regardless of the fate of Riverboat Days, the Clinton LumberKings are planning to give spectators a larger than usual fireworks show after the game on the Fourth of July.

This will be the first year since 1962 without Riverboat Days.

“A town this size should have something,” Steenhard said.

The sisters’ original goal was to raise the $1,400 for parade insurance, but donations quickly surpassed that goal and the idea escalated.

The parade would run along the riverfront and be free to enter, the pair said.  The sisters want to encourage people to participate in the parade, including those with tractors, hot rods and motorcycles.

With the unexpected level of donations, George and Steenhard have started investigating hosting a celebration in Riverview Park that would include activities like a dunk tank, watermelon seed spitting contest and three legged races.

“This is about celebrating America,” George said.

As the idea escalates, however, so do the costs. 

In addition to the parade insurance, there would also be incurred costs from supplying port-o-potties, trash disposal and if the event garners enough visitors, the sisters were told they would have to pay four police officers $50 an hour to staff the event.

Permits must also be filed to shut down the street for the parade and to host a special event in a city park.

In hopes of raising enough money to host the celebration as well as the parade, the sisters have opened a bank account that anyone can make a contribution to. Those wishing to contribute can make a deposit into the “Clinton Fourth of July Festival Fund” account the sisters opened at Sterling Federal Bank.

They are also trying to register as a not-for-profit organization.

To contact George or Steenhard for more information, visit the Facebook page, Save the Clinton 4th of July parade, or call George at (563) 249-4643.

George and Steenhard aren’t the only ones taking action to preserve the celebration. The LumberKings also jumped to action to give residents activities around the Fourth in addition to the fireworks show they were already providing.

On July 3, they will host Lumberstock, a bags tournament, a classic car show on Sixth Avenue North and a Coupe De Ville concert.  All of the events will be free.

“We’re happy to do it for the community,” LumberKings General Manager Ted Tornow said.

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