We experienced a huge turnout for the celebration, starting at 8:00 am for the flag-raising ceremony and ending at 11:00 pm with a spectacular firework show! There were things to do for all ages throughout the day, and every event was well attended.
The celebration is an annual tradition in Garden Valley and Crouch and is attended by friends and family from all over the state.
Here's a detailed event recap in case you missed out on the fun!
We started the day with the ceremonial flag-raising at the Veteran’s Memorial in Weilmunster Park. Emmalee Leslie sang the Star-Spangled Banner to a crowd of over 60 people. Kraig Wees, Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce President, led the pledge of allegiance, followed by a heartfelt tribute to 90-year-old Korean War Veteran Loren Brazell.
Loren joined the United States Air Force at the age of 17 and, after just two weeks of basic training, was shipped straight to Korea. He was immediately promoted to Sargent and was in charge of a crew that loaded armaments on the fighting aircraft. He did this for only 14 months before being shipped back stateside to Fairchild Air Force Base and joined the crew of a B-36 Peacemaker as a Bombardier, which he served for the remainder of his time in the service. Loren told a story about how the B-36 he served on was instrumental in pushing the Russians (Soviets) off a little island northeast of Japan, flying 24 hours straight, and being refueled while airborne.
Chamber board member Janet Cusimano along with the help of community high school student Avila Pearce organized the Kids Games and Activities. Competitive events included: potato sack, 3-legged race, balloon toss, and water challenges. Ribbons and prizes were well deserved. Steer roping, hay bale toss, craft table and face painting were some of the activities enjoyed by all. Not only did the kids enjoy themselves, parents were biting at the bit to team up with their children for some competitive challenges. Thanks to the additional community volunteers for helping make this day a success. It does indeed “take a small village, with big pride” to have brought this event to fruition.
Soap Box Derby
It was a bit of a scramble to get all 7 Soap Box Derby cars race ready, including the ramps and track, but our board member Wendell Loban took on the challenge, recruited volunteers, and pulled off one of the most talked about events of the day. Crouch Mayor Trevor Schiefelbein was the official starter working the ramps, and the kids aged 6-18 seemed to enjoy the thrill of racing down the track completely in control of their car. There was a little confusion about left vs. right and exactly when to hit the brakes, but despite a few mishaps, everyone had fun and no reported injuries.
It's interesting to note that the cars were official Soap Box Derby cars and three different classes. There were Stock, Super Stock, and Masters type cars available for the kids to race. We will definitely bring the Soap Box Derby back for future events.
Rubber Duck Race
Lisa Huey organized the annual Duck Race. 100’s of rubber ducks were purchased, numbered, and recorded for the event. As planned, they were dumped in the river near the rodeo grounds and collected just after passing under the Crouch bridge. Some ducks reported the water was very cold, but the scenery was worth the ride even if they didn’t win. The winning duck, number 695, explained that it was neck in neck for part of the race, but he could pull off a win against 2nd place winner # 215 and 3rd place winner #635.
Mountain America Credit Union sponsored the duck race and awarded $150 for 1st place, $100 for 2nd place, and $50 for 3rd. Mountain America has been sponsoring this event for several years, and we appreciate their continued support.
Wet and Dry Parade
This much-anticipated event, organized by Holly Cadotte, started at the Starlight Theatre parking lot and traveled down Middlefork Rd., ending in the market parking lot for the dry parade and splitting off and going through Crouch, over the bridge for the wet parade. The dry parade had some very cool classic cars and uniquely decorated floats. The Grand Marshall positions this year were shared by Diane Caughlin, Marie Jo Fisher, and Jamie Anderson.
The wet parade was led by one of our Fire Department trucks that did an adequate job soaking anyone along the route. They were met with a pelting of water balloons and squirt cannons, as were the rest of the participants in the wet parade. There was just as much water being delivered incoming as outgoing because the audience, as well as the participants, were well-armed for the battle.
Garden Valley Properties sponsored the event and presented the 1st place winner, The Garden Valley Cheerleaders, with $150. 2nd Place winner Nick Mitchell (George Washington crossing the Middlefork) received $100, and the 3rd place winner of $50 went to Sandra and her Mini Cooper.
This traditional 4th of July event was enjoyed by wet and dry participants!
Adam Nokes, Board Member and past Vice President of the GV Chamber of Commerce, didn’t disappoint as the firework display had the largest crowd of all the events that day. Adam worked diligently to set up and orchestrate the pyrotechnics. Sending the mortars off from Weilmunster Park was a sight, especially if you were in the park to enjoy the beauty of the fireworks bursting directly overhead. If you weren’t in the park, the display could be seen all over the Garden Valley area. This was a perfect ending to a spectacular day as we celebrated our independence from Great Britain and the beginning of this great nation.
We want to send a special thanks to all the businesses that generously donated to the firework display and the private donors that filled the donation boxes around town. Our community came together for this!