Austin ready to honor freedom; parade lineup

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Austin’s biggest celebration of the year is officially under way, and with much more reasonable weather than last year in the forecast, patriotic celebrants could be out in droves.

“If you throw a party for about 20,000, that’s what it is,” said Austin Chamber of Commerce Director Sandy Forstner.

Five days of continuous events — July 3 through 7 — begin at 3 p.m. today at the Paramount Theatre with a retailers’ fashion show, followed by the Miss Sparkler and Mr. Firecracker Pageant at 3:30. The Austin Jaycees will then hold a street dance at Torge’s Live, featuring the Amish Playboyz and Seeds. Tickets are available at entry for $5. The dance goes until 1 p.m.

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Thursday events feature the two highlights of Freedom Fest, the parade at 11 a.m., and fireworks at dusk. Forstner said those two events are always the most heavily attended. Furthermore, this year’s parade is packed with music.

“This year’s parade is going to feature a lot of music, a lot more music, a lot more marching bands than we’ve had in recent years,” Forstner said, and added music will be part of every eighth unit in the parade.

All Austin High School state tournament participants will be this year’s parade grand marshals, and all state tournament teams will be recognized as well. The parade route will stay the same, marching down Main Street from Eighth Avenue Northwest to Ninth Place Southwest.

As usual, plenty of acts will be on stage at Bandshell Community Park. Another element will highlight the holiday, as well. Mower County veterans will hold Bingo from 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday and 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Bandshell Park pavilion.

“We just think that’s very fitting because it’s the Fourth of July, and it’s a good time to recognize the Veterans,” Forstner said. “We’re really excited about that.”

Of course, every Freedom Fest features a few new elements, and this year’s celebration has gone country.

The day after the Fourth will include an antique and new tractor show, hot air balloon rides, an arts and craft show and free activities for children all day, along with the usual Bandshell Park stage entertainment. Friday’s stage entertainment will also feature Dennis Charnecki and the DC Drifters’ Vegas-themed music, and The Toonies “Fabulous 50s Family Fun Show.” The events at Bandshell Park are usually popular, with families setting up with blankets and picnic baskets.

The Hormel Institute will also hold its third annual Walk for a Cancer-Free World from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, starting and ending at The Institute.

Saturday is all about sports, recreation and a little competition, with a children’s fishing contest at East Side Lake from 9 to 11 a.m., the YMCA’s Hog Jog 5-Mile road race starting at 8 a.m. sharp at East Side Lake, and the 25-Mile Dan Ulwelling Bike Race at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center at noon. Another new element: The Austin Eagles Club has a full slate of fun for Saturday, with a bake sale, car show, and bean bag and poker tournaments.

On Sunday, the Morning Lions will host the “fly-in breakfast,” from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Austin Airport.


Austin Parade Order

VFW Post & Auxiliary
VFW Post & Auxiliary
National Guard
American Legion Post 91 – Austin
American Legion Post 91 – Austin
DAV — Scooters
National Guard/Beyond Yellow Ribbon
Boy Scouts
Girl Scouts
Girl Scout Float (tentative)
Chamber Ambassadors/Perkins
Austin High Cheerleaders
Austin High School Marching Band
Grand Marshals
Knights of Columbus
Bursch Travel
The Cedars of Austin
Gene’s Pedalists
ARC Mower County
AHS Alumni Marching Band
Austin ArtWorks Festival
Hormel Institute
Lyle Area Cancer
Rochester Merry Medics
Austin Power & Sport
Rachels Hope
Rochester Pipe & Drums
Y-Waste Removal
Austin Catholic Schools
Jane Taylor Academy of Dance
Overby Orthodontics
Professional Speech Services
Big Island Rendezvous and Festival
Blooming Prairie “The Stix of Fury”
Great Clips
Viking Auto Glass & Bumper
YMCA Gymnastics
ABC 6 News
Cedar River Longbeards
Salvation Army
Austin Big Band / All Weather Roofing
A Smooth Move
Bridget’s Dance Conservatory
Austin Area Foundation
Austin Lions Go-Cart Unit
Mower County Sheriff
Austin Youth Hockey
Austin Bruins
SU FU DU drumline
Tom’s Heating & A/C
Wennes Pony Hitch
Mower County Fair
Mower County 4-H
Midwest Diesel
Kwik Trip
Glenville-Emmons & Lyle Public Schools
Austin Utilities
Keys To Life Apostolic Church
Home Federal Savings Bank
Crane Community Chapel
Masonic Lodge
Austin Shrine Oriental Band
St. John’s Luthern Church
Mower County Relay For Life
B&T Coaches LLC
Seller’s Lock & Key
St. Marks Nursing Home
Western Fraternal Life Association
Albert Lea HS Marching Band
Dylan Kaercher’s Theater Camp
Vision 20/20
Power 96 & KQAQ Classic Country
Mower County Historical Society
Alley Katz
Stop Bullying
Osman Dragon Patrol
Dave and Val Klingfus
Riverland Community College
Carlos Diaz Youth Delegate to the United Nations
Southland Marching Band
Pizza Ranch
Minnesota Corrugated Box
Austin Community Band
Austin Fire Department
Mapleview Fire Department
Rose Creek Fire Department