Long may she wave as patriotism abounds

Long may she ever wave!” Hub City Motorcycle Club was the final and fitting entry in Guernsey’s annual July Fourth Parade Monday morning. The group carried off top honors from the judges for their outstanding presentation of the nation’s colors & the National Anthem. Photo by Vicki Hood

GUERNSEY—Under a blazing sun and blue skies, Guernsey’s July Fourth Parade did not disappoint this year with one of the largest lineups in the past several decades.  The anticipation of this year’s  event was noticeable as lawn chairs and coolers appeared on both sides of Wyoming Avenue both north and south of the main intersection near the Visitors Center at least an hour prior to the official start time of 10:30 a.m.   

With nearly 30 antique and classic vehicles registered in addition to 45 entries of everything from miniature donkeys to floats with kids and golf carts decked out in red, white and blue, the theme of “Freedom and Fireworks” was prominently displayed.  

“Election year always gives us extra entries,” said Parade Chairman Vicki Hood.  “But we had far more entries in the other categories this year as well.  I think people were just ready to get outside and do something different—really get into the celebration.  We got entries from well beyond Guernsey.”

They came from not only Guernsey but Fort Laramie, Wheatland, Glendo and Cheyenne.   

Hood has chaired the July Fourth parade for many years—her best estimate is at least 30 but she credits the support staff with the success Guernsey’s parades have enjoyed over that time.  

“We have a great core of volunteers who have done this for a long time.  Everyone knows their job and I’m lucky to have that kind of help,” said Hood.  “It’s great when we can get the finished product to come off smoothly the day of the parade because there’s a lot that goes into this that most people don’t realize.”  

Chuck and Doug Frederick have been key help in lining up and getting entries moving down the street for most of those years.  Announcers have included Hood, Jerry Sellars and Craig Frederick and additional help has come from Mable and Barb Frederick.

Classic car enthusiasts Duane and Peg Freouf have organized the portion of the parade that covers classic and antique vehicles for the past 10 years.   

Hood said she also appreciates the efforts of the Guernsey Police Department for their help with traffic, City Hall employees who help collect entries as well as City work crew members who help with equipment to block off streets and parking.  Hood says local businesses have been great getting entry forms circulated to the public and a variety of people have served as parade judges over the years.  “This is certainly no ‘one-person show’  by any means”, Hood added.

This year’s Parade Marshal was lifelong resident JoAnne Reffalt.  Grandson Tate Stoneking proudly provided a fitting ride for her in his 1950 Chrysler Windsor sedan.  Reffalt said she was “honored” to be selected.  Affectionately known by many as “Annie”, she served as Guernsey’s postmaster for many years and along with her late husband Tootie, ranched just east of Guernsey, raising three children along the way.     

Parade winners this year included Hub City Motorcycle Club who claimed the top spot with an outstanding presentation of the Star-Spangled Banner at the close of the parade. Tri-City Parks and Rec took second place with their float that celebrated many of the events and activities they sponsor throughout the year and the golf cart group from Trail Ruts Golf and Camp who promoted Guernsey’s highly popular nine-hole golf course, leagues and campground that draws hundreds of guests throughout the summer as well as locals placed third.

The day began early with a pancake breakfast in Gordon Davis Park and volunteers estimated they served 350 people.

Following the parade, activities in the park included the first farmers market of the year, water slide for the kids, a corn hole tournament and DJ Vic Soto provided music.

The day came to a close with a concert by local longtime favorite band Timberline Express at the park’s amphitheater.        

Guernsey was known for many years as “the place to be” on July Fourth.  The Old Timers Association was the cornerstone for decades of barbecues and rodeos that drew crowds, big-name entertainment  and cowboys from all over.  But times changed, and when the Old Timers Association was no longer active, many wondered if Guernsey’s July Fourth celebration would become just another memory of “how it used to be.”

Guernsey’s celebration is undeniably different than it was in those days but time and the efforts of volunteers have established a new, updated version of July Fourth.  Members of Guernsey’s Economic Development and Tourism group has taken up the mantle to provide the community with a July Fourth celebration that’s become the new tradition.

 Today’s crowds say that they’ve found the road to success.  

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