Fourth of July: It takes a team to create a parade

Our big Fourth of July parade is truly one of the best attended and most enjoyed events our county hosts every year.

As we all know, to put on such a large extravaganza takes a great deal of planning, preparation and, most of all, people power. Here’s a little bit of the behind-the-scenes trivia and an insight into what goes into making this parade work, and the fantastic support network we have in this town.

Did you know that for the past several years, Rainbow Gifts has donated gifts for our parade judges? The owners say it is their way to help us with the parade, which they so much appreciate and enjoy. Good will goes a long way in our friendly town.

Did you know that Paul Day from Day Lumber has provided the flatbed truck that serves as a judges and announcers stand? He has done this for years, and always delivers the truck in the wee hours before the parade, so it is right where it is supposed to be when it is needed. Last year, they even constructed a frame for a sun shelter for the judges and the parade announcers.

Speaking of parade announcers, did you know that Karl Isberg and Mike Branch have been the parade announcing team for many years? Bless them, as they have again agreed to assist with their entertaining and always interesting announcing service this year. This dynamic duo makes our parade fun to listen to as well as to participate in or to watch from the sidewalks as the floats go by.

And do you know where our parade judges come from and how they are picked? The judges are always guests from out of town who are staying at one of our local campgrounds. For the past several years, the judges have been guests chosen by Nancy Gilbert from the Elk Park Campground. She selects a total of five participants who have a great time naming winners from the 80-100 parade entries that go past the grandstand each year. Prize money is awarded to the winners in each of the categories. Be sure to decorate your entry this year with an eye toward our the theme: “America the Beautiful.”

Do you know who lines up all those float entries on parade morning? For many years Bob Tillerson, Rod Preston and Harold Slavinski have made their way up South 8th Street the day before the parade with their cans of florescent spray paint, marking each entry number on the street (that is why it’s important to include the length of your float on your application). Thank you, gentlemen, how your work is much appreciated — without it, we would be in a jam!

Do you know who sits every year under the Rotary tent in the parking lot to take all those entry forms? Each Fourth of July morning, starting at 8 a.m., Jack Threet, Bob Tillerson, Rod Preston, Harold Slavinski and other Rotarians efficiently and warmly welcome the hundreds of folks who join together to make up this much loved and anticipated event.

Do you know who the head organizers are who run the show behind the scenes? Inquiring minds want to know.

For several years Rod Preston was our organizer and chief. Since Rod and his wife have moved from Pagosa, JoAnn Laird and Bob Moomaw have stepped up to the plate to carry the torch and they have done a fantastic job the last three years, producing a smooth and well organized parade enjoyed by thousands.

As you can see, it takes more than a few: it takes a dedicated community to make our beloved Fourth of July parade the success it is each year. With all the tidbits of trivia shared, it is now time for each of you to get your applications in to the Chamber of Commerce or go online to the Pagosa SUN Web site to download the application. Do it today! Go to for your parade application.

See you at the parade.