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The Fourth of July Parade  1998

     Once again, everyone vacationing on Beaver Island came out of their cottage, boat, or tent to watch the July Fourth parade.  All the vehicles lined up at the Medical Center, and started moving towards the downtown of St. James at 2:00, led by Mike Russell in the first of the Island's two Sheriff's cars.  A band of former marines marched in precision behind them in tight drill, followed by Islanders who had been in other branches of the service. Bubbly Pat Rowley came next, in an old jeep, one of many vehicles to be throwing handfuls of candy to the crowds of excited kids.
     The Fire Department was represented by all three of its trucks, although not together: another candy wagon snuck into the ranks.  Then there was a bevy of children on brightly-decorated bikes, and two hula dancers in grass skirts -- aged six and four. Some group of men in rouge and dresses, carrying a variety of banners making claims about our environment, preceded Mama Beaver, who waved happily at the seventeen hundred observers flanking both sides of the streets.  Next came a family reunion -- one of two -- and the inescapable truck proclaiming the Red Wings to be World Champs once again.
     The TDS wagon carried more happy candy dispensers, leading the Langford's 50th Anniversary partiers.  The CMU float came next, a huge frog that tried to swallow any nearby unwary bee or fly but proved better suited at increasing the level of merriment in its vicinity.  McCafferty's Place, the Lorain Lodge, the Sommer Place, Powers' Ace Hardware, and John Bonadeo's black corvette, which had been a red Cadillac in a previous life, represented some of the Island businesses. The Karl Evans clan was the loudest, playing a variety of old rock and rap songs as they threw candy to the kids. Ron Wojan towed a trailer with a model house; at shotgun, the madly-grinning Dick DeRosia blasted selected targets with a jumbo squirt gun. [ Continued ]


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