... for parade appointment
I want to express my appreciation to the Juneau Festival Committee for choosing me as the Grand Marshall of this year's Fourth of July Parade. The parade represents to me all the best characteristics of Juneau; a closely knit community with a diversity of ideas and a willingness to accept each others opinions. And of course, a town that knows how to throw a great party.
So much thought, energy and hard work goes into the creation of the floats and entries, some in the spirit of provoking thought or sharing support for a cause and some just for the plain fun of amusing our fellow Southeasters.
I would like to commend the Committee for its selection of 'Freedom of Speech' as this year's theme. I feel that freedom of speech is the foundation for a democratic society and the parade is the perfect venue for people to exercise their First Amendment rights. Whereas many of our holidays have been co-opted for commercial purposes, the Fourth has remained a day for both celebration and reflection on what it means to be an American.
I would also like to extend my congratulations and thanks to parade director Gerald Dorsher and all the volunteers. It takes months of planning to organize the parade, and the volunteers show up on the morning of the fourth just a few hours after the last firework goes off. It is a tremendous effort to coordinate the more than 80 organizations that participated in the parade and to pull it off without a hitch is great work!
On a personal note, I'd like to thank all of you who shared your kind words and wishes with me on my selection as Grand Marshall. It was a great honor for my whole family and one we will not soon forget.
Now, we are off to plan next year's float!
... to soapbox race planners
My nephew, Corey Box, is six years old and won a nice third-place trophy at the soapbox derby race in Douglas on July 4. He and his sister have had lots of fun over the last two years with their soapbox cars, carefully painting them, being in the Douglas parade, and racing them down the hill above Sandy Beach. He is very exited about his trophy. He carried it around and showed it to absolutely everyone for the rest of the day. I'm sure I'll get to see it every time I go to his house for the next couple of weeks.
All the kids had so much fun, parents and aunties had fun watching, and the race was so well organized. The people who work on it deserve a big thank you. Putting something together from scratch is difficult, and they've really done a great job reinventing an old Juneau tradition.
Special thanks go to Robert Jones, who came up with the idea, and takes most of the responsibility for getting it organized; to Jeff Duvernay of Harri Plumbing and Heating who carried the car kits in his store, helped with registration, and did the start and finish banners; to Trucano Construction for donating the trailer that was used for the start ramp; to Joe Sorenson of Les Shwab for the tires that line the race course and keep the kids from going off track; and to Craig Kahklen, Jason and Stephanie Helf, Irene Duvernay, Chrys Jones and Paul Prussing for running the time trials and the race, including getting kids and cars set up at the start, keeping the times straight and getting the trophies to the kids.
You all did a fantastic job, it's a great event for kids and for aunties, and I hope it continues to grow. I know Corey will be back next year. He's already talking about how to make the wheels faster.