Four years ago, something new was about to arrive on the Clinton scene.

On July 4, 2012, a parade planned by two sisters made its way down Clinton's Riverview Drive to celebrate Independence Day.

Residents were eager for it since Riverboat Days, a multi-day celebration/music festival that began in the early 1960s and was held in conjunction with the Fourth of July, was no longer in existence. Other attempts to follow that up with another celebration fell flat and locals were left with the possibility that they would have no holiday celebration of their own.

Then, sisters Erin George and Emily Steenhard, who recalled Riverboat Days and the fun times they had growing up, decided they wanted to provide a family friendly event where residents could celebrate at little to no cost.

They raised funds, lined up a parade and volunteers and successfully created a Fourth of July festival that now is in its fifth year.

This year, the celebration will begin at 9 a.m. July 4 with various sports, games and tournaments, running all throughout the day, capped off with the LumberKings hosting the Burlington Bees at Ashford University Field and a performance of “The Music Man” at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre. Both events are at 6:30 p.m.

The parade, a centerpiece of the event, will begin at 1 p.m. and will travel along Riverview Drive.

This event began at a time when Clinton needed a shot in the arm to boost community pride. That is something this community — any community, really — needs to have from time to time.

The sisters have said that 2016 will be their final year to spearhead organizing the event, which has been assisted by more than a dozen volunteers; they now are hoping someone will step in to pick up where they will leave off.

That is our hope, as well. As we wait to see who that will be, we would like to wholeheartedly thank the sisters. Their memories, combined with vision and hard work, have made difference that will be remembered for years to come.

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