Time to celebrate

Juneau groups prepare to take part in Independence Day parades

Posted: Wednesday, July 03, 2002

A piping, silvery tone joined the pulsing beat of drums as the Filipino Community's Ati-Atihan dancers prepared Tuesday night for the Fourth of July parade.

"We're doing good," said Morris Carrillo, chairman of the Fourth of July festival for the Filipino Community and coordinator for Ati-Atihan. "We added a different instrument to our music - a lyre. It adds different tone. It's going to sound real pretty."

The troop of 36 dancers and 14 musicians is just one of the 80 groups from Juneau and elsewhere in Southeast Alaska that will march in the downtown parade, which begins at 11 a.m. Thursday. As in years past, politicians, businesses and community groups will show their spirit and make a bid for support from the residents who traditionally turn out in force to watch the parade.

The Filipino Community also will enter a float in the parade, Carrillo said. The tribute to Sept. 11 is designed to resemble images of the rubble of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in last fall's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

"It might make people cry a little bit because it's the real thing," Carrillo said. "But we're not putting on any folks that are injured, none of that stuff. Just the volunteers, the people that responded to the tragedy. We're honoring the heroes of Sept. 11."

The base of the float will be made up of cement and steel shards on plywood, while the back will feature an image of the last standing building and the words of the 2002 parade theme, "United We Stand."

Holiday may be wet


It might just rain on our parades.

The National Weather Service expects cloudy skies with a light drizzle of rain for much of the Fourth of July.

"It'll be enough to keep the pavement wet," predicted meteorologist Brian Bezenek.

The drizzle likely will turn into rain by Thursday night.

Tonight's midnight fireworks display is expected to take place under clouds, with a 30 percent chance of rain.

Historically, Juneau sees rain on about 30 percent of its Fourth of July celebrations. In recent years, July 4 has been largely dry, although it rained last year.

The famous image of three firefighters raising the American flag at the disaster site will be recreated, Carrillo said. Police, medical personnel and volunteers and National Guard officers also will be represented, though the police and firefighters on the float will be volunteers in uniform.

"We tried to get the real cops, but this is one of their busiest times of the year," Carrillo said. "So they weren't able to participate, but they loaned us some uniforms, and same thing with the fire department."

The idea for the float has been in the works for some time, Carrillo added.

"(It) came out right after Sept. 11," he said. "The theme of this year is United We Stand' ... so it just worked out perfect for us."

While the entry from Hoonah's Icy Straits Lumber, a division of Whitestone Logging, deals less directly with the parade's theme, it also makes a visual statement.

Workers at the camp spent about 500 hours assembling a 12-by-16-foot log cabin, which will be attached to a three-axle trailer frame and pulled through the parade by a one-ton truck.

"We try to provide all the wooden materials to build the cabin," said Wes Tyler, sawmill manager. "It's local wood made into a local product. It's all Alaskan-grown in Alaska, manufactured in Alaska and made by Alaskans."

Whitestone began selling prepared material for cabins about three years ago, Tyler said. So far, business has been limited to Southeast, with groups and individuals in Juneau and Hoonah purchasing the squared logs and floor joists needed to construct the buildings.

"We just wanted to show our local people that there are some great products that can be made from the local forest," Tyler said. "There's still a good bit of work that goes into putting these together, but it's fun to do and it's rewarding."

The cabin was finished just in time to make the 2 a.m. ferry from Hoonah on Tuesday. It reached Juneau at about 5 a.m., and is available for viewing at the Construction Machinery yard on Glacier Highway before and after the parade.

Entries in the Juneau parade begin assembling at 6:30 a.m. in the lower freight lot of Alaska Marine Lines off Thane Road. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and runs up South Franklin Street to Front Street, Main Street and Egan Drive, ending at the state Department of Labor parking lot near the Douglas Bridge.

The Douglas parade assembles at 1 p.m. at Gastineau Elementary School and starts at 1:30 p.m., running down Third Street to the cutoff to Savikko Park. No parking will be allowed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Third Street. The Sandy Beach parking lot also will be closed from 1 to 5 p.m. during events at the park.

Genevieve Gagne-Hawes can be reached at geneviev@juneauempire.com. A schedule of Fourth of July activities was printed in the Empire's Tuesday edition and is on the Web at juneauempire.com.

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