By Bruce Karnick
Hastings asked for a parade, and the request has been answered!
With volunteer time at a premium and the wonderful transformation of Rivertown Days into a music festival, the parade that used to be associated with the festival was not held last year.
The community turned out in support of the new festival, but the parade was missed.
Hastings Golf Club and Hastings Public House owner Nicole Sindelar has stepped up this year to organize a parade.
“I have heard how upset people got about the parade,” explained Sindelar. “I'm involved in Rivertown Days. I don't know how they were able to pull off a parade. It is a lot of work for three people. But knowing the way Rivertown Days is going, I'm just thrilled about it. That got me thinking, why don't we do like other cities and have the parade be around the Fourth of July because we already have a celebration? I feel like our Fourth of July celebration is way undersold. We have thousands of people out here for the fireworks but there’s nothing else going on.”
That prompted Sindelar to work with the Hastings Chamber, using their knowledge and guidance to put together a Fourth of July parade. The help meant she did not have to start from scratch. The caveat to that is that she has only been working on it for a few months. Most parades, like Rivertown Days, take a full year of planning. Marching bands and other community groups need to factor in parades for their schedules, and those fill up very quickly. Groups need time to build floats or at least the decorations for floats and so much more. So can a parade be pulled off in a few months?
“Well, I do events for a living… I can pull off a wedding in three days,” laughed Sindelar.
That may have been prompted by the question of ‘You started planning a Fourth of July Parade in the middle of April? Are you crazy?’ And she’s taking the parade idea and running with it. “And you know what? If it’s small for the first year, it’s small. At least we will know what we are getting into. IIt’s a different route, a different day, a different time. That is going to affect things too. There are plenty of people who come out for the Fourth, so hopefully we get a great response,” she added.
The positive attitude throughout the conversation was very apparent. Sindelar is doing something no one else has done recently stepped up and put the work in for a solution to the problem. She is trying to find a way to support the community with a fun event.
“I’m doing this for the community of Hastings,” Sindelar added. “I would absolutely say my goal is to never make money off this. It's promotion of the city. I do not live in Hastings, but Hastings is my home. I know so many people here. I love so many people here. It feels like home.”
She even knows there is a good chance that she will lose money on this the first few years of the parade, and to her, that is OK because she is going to have fun with the parade and hopes the community joins her.
The exciting piece for some folks is that it’s not something centered around downtown. Yes, we have a great downtown, but we also have many other wonderful parts of Hastings, and this parade will not be held on Second Street. The parade will line up in the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parking lot and officially start at 6:30 p.m. at General Sieben Drive. It will travel along 15th St. West for just under a mile and end at Westview Drive.
General Sieben Drive will be left open, but it will be police officercontrolled for traffic. This will be the route for vehicles traveling between Highway 55 and County Road 46. Westview will be where the floats will break off the parade route to return to SEAS Church, so that intersection may be closed to the public as well. Signs will be posted for the road closures 48 hours in advance as will no parking signs along the parade route.
The other side streets, including Pleasant Drive, will be closed to nonemergency traffic access to 15th Street. Volunteers and Officers will man the barricades and open them if needed.
With the parade being planned in such a short time, the response has been great for entrants. With it being advertised for only a week, there were 15 signed up for the parade with hopes of having it at least double that. The cost for entry is very affordable. Businesses/Commercial/Political costs $75 per unit, Hastings Chamber Members is $50, and charitable organizations/churches/pageants/festival promotion is only $35.
Participants are required to complete an application that can be found at hastingsgolfclub.com. As has become the general rule for parades now for safety, items cannot be thrown from the float but can be distributed by people walking along the curbs. There is also no spraying of liquids by participants or giving out stickers. Also for the safety of everyone involved, no consumption of alcoholic beverages is allowed in the lineup area or the parade. If you have a business, group or even a neighborhood or family interested in participating just for the fun of it, head over to the website listed above. If you want to help as a volunteer, do the same.
With the parade starting at 6:30 p.m., the end time all depends on the number of floats. After that, the Hastings Golf Club is the central location for the Fourth of July celebration. They will have live music on the property, food trucks, and plenty of space for folks to gather on the hill to watch the Vermillion State Banksponsored fireworks at 10 p.m. The deadline to register a float is June 20. The event may be a bit small this year due to timing, but this community can get out and support it to show that it is a welcomed edition so they bring it back each year and it can only grow.