Float makers get fired up for parade

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2002

For some organizations, slapping some signs on the side of a pick-up truck is good enough for their Third of July float. But many groups make a tradition of building floats and use the parade as an opportunity show their pride in the community that supports them.

This year employees at Lou-Rich are working on an impressive float to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary.

&uot;Everyone here has had some input on the design,&uot; said float organizer Scott Lightly. &uot;We have a lot of employee pride, being employee owned. Part of it is also showing the community some of the plant’s capabilities.&uot;

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Lou-Rich’s metal float was made using tools from the Hayward plant. Two months in the making, it incorporates the new company logo in a large rotating globe shape more than 10 feet in diameter. Employees plan to walk next to the float passing out pop and can coolers, pencils and freezies. The float will also make an appearance in the Austin Spam Jam parade.

&uot;Its something fun and different. Definitely the least stressful thing I’ve ever helped design,&uot; Lightly said about working on the float.

Employees at Good Samaritan Center look at float building each year as an opportunity to get to know each other outside a professional environment.

&uot;Its nice to talk to people besides when we are working,&uot; said a float committee member.

The Good Sam float committee started planning in late May. Any staff member or volunteer is welcome to join and the float ideas are drawn from anyone with a suggestion.

The center’s enthusiasm for the parade shows; last year their float took top honors in the non-profit category and also won grand champion in the float judging. Details of this year’s design will be kept under lock and key until the day of the parade.

The 2002 parade offers much more than just floats. In a special salute to Sept. 11 all area veterans groups and fire and rescue squads participating will be grouped together at the beginning of the parade.

In a special ceremony at 2 p.m. at American Legion Post 56, southern Minnesota Normandy invasion survivors will be recognized by Rep. Gil Gutknecht. Around 50 veterans will be awarded medals, then ride a float in the parade.

Also set to perform are musical groups the Minnesota Over-60 Band and the Kraemers Kracker Jacks Drumline. The Over-60 Band is based in Gaylord, Minn. Their free concert in Lincoln Park will start at 4 p.m. on the third. Albert Lea residents Bill Vosler and Bob Hershey have both played trumpet in the band for eight years. The Kracker Jacks are a group of musicians founded in 1983 from Cold Spring, Minn.

Minnesota 4-H is celebrating its 100th birthday this year so several area clubs also have floats.

At last count 155 units were registered to participate, up from last year’s 125. The parade theme is &uot;Star-Spangled Fourth,&uot; and this year’s Grand Marshall is retiring Sheriff Don Nolander.

Winning and runner-up units are chosen in three categories; non-profit, youth, and commercial. Float judges are three community members who evaluate each float based on its creativity, originality, and use of the theme.

The 2001 winner of the youth category was Halverson Pack 7 Cub Scouts; the runner-up was the Albert Lea Figure Skating Club. The non-profit category winner was the Good Samaritan Center; the runner-up was Vineyard Christian Fellowship. In the commercial category the Albert Lea Tribune took first place, and the runner-up was Alliant Energy.

&uot;The best part of the parade is riding through it and seeing how many people have come together to celebrate the Fourth,&uot; said parade organizer Tom Jones of the Albert Lea Jaycees.

This year’s Jaycee’s Third of July Parade begins at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 3.

Parade lineup:

VFW (Colorguard)

American Legion (Colorguard)

Women Veterans of Freeborn County

Disabled American Veterans

American Legion Post 56 Veterans

WWII Normandy Veterans

American Legion Post 75 New Richland

Grand Marshal:

Sheriff Don Nolander

Albert Lea Fire Department

Albert Lea Fire Explorers

Albert Lea Township Fire Department

Emmons Fire Department

Clarks Grove Fire Department

Conger Fire Department

Freeborn Fire Department

The Exchange Club

Pack 72, Cub Scouts

Crossroads Community Hospice

Mayor Bob Haukoos

Thorne Crest Retirement Center

St. John’s Nursing Home

Good Samaritan

Dave Mullenbach

MN over 60 Band


Classic Reflection Salon & Spa

Bob Kindler for Sheriff

Blazing Star Bike Trail

Austin YMCA Gymnastics

Austin Shrine Club

Albert Lea Shrine Club

North Iowa Shrine Club

Salvation Army Food Drive

State Representative Dan Dorman

Salute to America/God Bless America


Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce

Skyline Hairport

Christianson Plumbing & Heating

United Way of Freeborn County

Pelican Breeze

Sons of Norway

Kracker Jacks Drumline

4-H County Centennial

Shellrock Shamrocks 4-H

Freeman 4-H

Bancroft 4-H Club

Myrtle 4-H Club

Hayward 4-H Club

Freeborn 4-H Club

Twin Lakes 4-H club

Albert Lea 4-H Club

Hartland Hiliners 4-H Club

Congressman Gil Gutknecht

Jim Lawrence Orchestra

Minnesota Thunder Mascot &uot;Thor&uot;

Albert Lea Soccer Association

Head Start of Freeborn County

Albert Lea Skate Park Assn.

Alliant Energy

ALHS Marching Band

Festival of Bands

House of Hope

Freeborn County Pork Producers

Freeborn Mower Electric


Keith Porter

Cloverleaf Lions/Southside Business Association

Phil Bartusek for Sheriff

Knudtson Rental/Knudtson Development Company

Albert Lea Supermileage Car

Budach Implement


Freeborn County Dairy Assn.

Senator Grace Schwab

Trinity Lutheran

Larson Contracting

Wayne’s Starting & Towing

Zogg Dermatology

Halverson for House

Thompson Sanitation

Mark Harig for Sheriff

Peterson Tree Service

Albert Lea Community Child Care Center

Pawlenty for Governor

Auto Glass Specialists

Elks Lodge

Fountain Industries

Dan Sparks for State Senate

Wells Federal Bank

Relax the Back Massage Thearpy


Power 96

Dunnel Lenort

Crossroads Evangelical Free Church

Freeborn County Cattleman’s Assn.

Country Moose/KIA

Freeborn County Fair

Hugh O’Byrne/Jim Manges

Freeborn County Corn & Soybeans Assn.

Cub Scout Pack 64

Farmers Market

Freeborn County Republicans

St. Theodore’s School

Gary’s Farm & Lawn Equipment

Albert Lea FFA & Alumni

Trail’s Travel Center

Bayside Ski Team

Albert Lea Tribune

MN Festival Theatre

Grapevine Twist

AG Power

Budget Blinds

Midwest Wireless

Farmers Insurance Group and Shelly Gold

Tony Trow for Mayor

Moose Lodge

Toby & Tracy Figueroa

Albert Lea Wrestling Boosters

Schweigert Foods

George Marin for Mayor

Touchworks Massage

Brian’s Eldercare

Miss Albert Lea Brandy J. Erb

Knights of Columbus

Elbow Room

Humane Society

A & A Express Towing

Habitat for Humanity

ALHS Tiger Dance Team

Morin Lake Days of Alden

Mark Anderson for Mayor

Albert Lea Letter Carriers

Ag Star Financial Service

Alden-Conger Supermileage Car

Americana National Bank

Halverson Pack 7 Scouts

Good Vibz II

Irene Anderson for Recorder

Albert Lea Driving School

D & C Construction

Talk About the Weather

South Central Tree Service

Crest Services

The Children’s House Montessori Pre-School

Andreasen for Congress

Doug Lembke Construction, Inc.

Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth

Cynthia Beenken for Governor

Farm & City Days Committee

Order of the Eastern Star

Jean Eaton for Mayor

Cost Cutters

Albert Lea Public Library

Nu Vent


Sunset Saddle Club

Herbert Ulrich