The expected rain never fell on this year's Fourth of July celebration.
The only umbrellas that were seen were being used to protect viewers from water sprays coming from fire trucks in area parades.
The temperature was reported to be 83 degrees at parade time in Brainerd, a perfect temperature to draw thousands of people to the parade route. The hot commodity along the route was shade. Onlookers repeatedly shifted positions to chase the shade.
People started claiming seats along the parade route early in the morning to get prime viewing, some even camped out overnight near the parade's beginning. Scott and Kelly Swenson of Baxter pulled their recreational vehicle onto East River Road Monday night to give their kids an opportunity to go to the Battle of the Bands. "Most of the spots on this road were all full by 8 p.m. on Monday," said Kelly Swenson. "You've got to get here early."
With two flags in hand, 3-year-old Lyric Larsen of Brainerd waited for the beginning of the Brainerd Fourth of July parade Tuesday night. The streets were full of spectators before the annual celebration. More Fourth of July photos are on Pages 2A, 6A and 20A. (Dispatch Photos by Steve Kohls)
The judging of the parade this year was a family affair. Five of the parade judges carry the last name Dehen. Shannon Dehen, who was on the Fourth of July committee brought along her two children, Nicole and Michael, and her husband Jim's parents, Jim and Mary Kay. Her husband, Jim, who is a doctor and a member of the Brainerd City Council was also involved with the planning of the celebration. This is Shannon Dehen's third year judging for the parade. the last two years she judged with her husband as well. As for the rest, this was their debut.
When asked why they come back as judges, another judge, Beth Pfingsten said, "It's the best spot in the whole parade, and the most comfortable."
The categories voted on in the parade were decided on by Nancy Cross, executive director of Brainerd Community Action.
Of the 104 entries in this year's parade, some are not voted on, such as government agency floats and politicians. The rest of the entries are voted on based on a scale of one to five. The judges assign numbers determining originality, effort and creativity.
Little Miss Morgan and Little Mister Joseph wave to the crowd during the Fourth of July parade Tuesday night in Brainerd. The pair were crowned July 1 and reigned over the holiday festivities. (Dispatch Photo by Steve Kohls)
Following the parade, people streamed to Don Adamson Field to listen to music and await the fireworks. At 7 p.m., the Harmony Engineers performed for the crowd, and at 8 p.m. the Grass Roots took the stage.
After much anticipation and the national anthem, fireworks began to light the sky. Added illusion could be had by wearing 3-D glasses being passed through the crowd.
"We were really pleased with the whole day," Cross said. "The parade route was full and the football field was just packed, and the fireworks were just spectacular."
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