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Everyone loves a parade

ND State Parade celebrates 40 years

Photos by Eloise Ogden/MDN TOP: Minot State University and its Beaver mascot take part in the North Dakota State Parade shown in this July 2021 photo. The parade includes local participants as well as many others in the state.

The North Dakota State Parade is held in conjunction with the North Dakota State Fair annually in July at Minot. The first one was held in 1981 with Gov. Allen I. Olson as grand marshal. Several area residents including Realtor Ken Halley, Bryon “Barney” Lane, Gene Lee and Ed and Arlene Land, organized the event. Ken “Dizzy the Clown” Gillespie was procured to “Bring in the Clowns”. The first parade was held on a Friday and the route was from the south Kmart, down Broadway to Burdick Expressway, then onto the fairgrounds. Later events were on Saturday morning of the first weekend of the Fair and now start on the intersection of Broadway and Burdick Expressway and through the fairgrounds. The largest parade had over 300 entries.

The parade became more formally organized and was incorporated as a non-profit with the state of North Dakota in 1988. Office positions were initiated earlier and Sylvia Lennick served as the first official chair from 1983 until 1993. Other chairs include Roxy Volk, Sharon Anderson Rud, Kathy Jensen, Linda Wienbar, Ken Stroklund, Loren Vannett, and Jim Clifford. The 2022 chair is Twyla Miller.

This year will be the 40th parade. There were no parades held in 2011 due to the Minot flood and in 2020 because of COVID-19. A committee of volunteers organizes the parade each year. New volunteers are always welcome. The committee starts meeting in January and selects a grand marshal and a theme. Nominees do not need to be North Dakota natives, but must have strong ties with North Dakota. Honorees have included media celebrities, sports figures, veterans, politicians, and even Miss America. Seated politicians are no longer nominated. The public is welcome to offer suggestions for future grand marshals.

This year’s parade theme is “Kickin’ It in Cowboy Country!” It starts at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, July 23, and follows Burdick Expressway east from Broadway and through the North Dakota State Fairgrounds. Non-commercial entries are free of charge; however, there is a $60 fee for commercial entries (with $50 fee for each additional unit). There is also a $5 charge for entries wishing to be judged. Entry forms may be downloaded at www.ndstatefair.com/specialevents/

Entries are lined up according to the date received. Numbers will be mailed out in early July. The deadline to guarantee being announced, judged, or listed in the newspaper is June 20. A late fee of $5 will be assessed for entries after June 20.

Contact the State Parade Committee for more information at P.O. Box 2157; Minot, North Dakota 58702-2157 or call 838-0104 and leave a message. You may also email at ndparade2002@yahoo.com.

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