It didn't rain on Ketchikan's parade this year.
Rain on Thursday morning let up just before the island's annual Independence Day festivities began. People lined the streets along Tongass Avenue to watch the 2002 Kids Parade and the Fourth of July parade, which kicked off the day's events that included a timber carnival and a rubber duck race in Ketchikan Creek.
The theme for this year's parade was "Americans Marching Forward with Pride." Leading the way was the event's grand marshal, Gerald "Bud" Bodding. The retired pilot came to Ketchikan in 1940 to work for Ellis Air, which eventually became Alaska Airlines. Bodding commercially flew Grumman Goose floatplanes throughout Southeast Alaska for many years.
The Terrace Pipes and Drums Society from British Columbia won the best performance award from the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. Lauren Elerding, 16, captured the title of this year's Fourth of July queen.
As the Star Princess' float emerged from the downtown tunnel, the Princess Cruises' vessel blared its horn to welcome its entry in the parade. Equipped with a band and replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, the cruise line's float was picked as the most entertaining.
Floats carrying Ketchikan High School alumni from the classes of 1952, 1962, 1972, 1982 and 1992 also traveled the parade route, as did the incoming seniors of the Class of 2003. The all red-white-and-blue class of 1952 won the best appearance award.
Representatives on the Carrs/Safeway float dressed as famous Americans, such as George Washington, Betsy Ross and Martin Luther King Jr. The grocery store's float captured the most patriotic award.
Also receiving honors was the U.S. Coast Guard Marching Unit, which won the best interpretation award.