Parade, park events on 4th


The Independence Day People’s Parade and Riverside Park Celebration began 11 years ago. The parade started as a grassroots effort from a group of community members and has witnessed continued growth each year, taking its place in the Independence Day festivities in Miles City.

The local activities celebrate our nation’s Independence and the community’s volunteers. Volunteerism is an important, integral part of community’s life. Volunteers share a social conscience and a sense of community. Miles City has about 300 volunteers who play an enormous role in the everyday running of the city.

The Fourth of July Committee is new this year. It is made up of volunteers from the American Legion and Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary, and the Marine Corps League. Reynolds Warehouse Grocery donated 12 “United We Stand” patriotic T-shirts for the committee to wear during the Fourth of July celebration so that the public will be able to put a face on the committee or ask for assistance.

Mark Ahner, committee member and Post Commander of American Legion Post 5, said, “Obviously, we have a huge learning curve to overcome because the previous committee has done such a great job, but the local veteran organizations felt that it was appropriate to set up and assume the Fourth of July activities’ preparation, to celebrate our Independence Day. 

“The dedicated volunteers, donors, participants and invaluable assistants from the past July 4 Committee members have been very gratifying. There are still a few loose ends, yet, we will be ready for a great day,” he said.

Entries in the 11th annual parade will begin lining up at 10 a.m. Friday at the Historic Miles City Academy (formerly the Ursuline Convent) on Leighton Boulevard. At 11 a.m. the parade will begin. 

The grand marshal for this year’s parade is Bob Crowe. The 91-year-old Crowe was chosen to be the Fourth of July parade’s grand marshal because he is not only a veteran, but more so, he is an avid volunteer in the community. Miles City has been Crowe’s home for 22 years. He came to Miles City from Missoula.

The mounted honor guards will be Stan Taylor and Jim Barnes.

Cody Steiner will be chauffeuring the grand marshal in one of his cars in his collection.

There are approximately 30-plus entries of all kinds registered for the parade this year. Some of those entries have as many as 10 participants, which means there will be around 50 or more entries in the lineup. There is room for more entries, which will be taken up until the time the parade starts to line up on Friday mroning. This was established as a People’s Parade, so there are no fees to enter the parade and there is no theme. Mark Ahner may be reached at 234-0302 to register.

The Boy Scouts, under the leadership of David Swogger, will give the first 400 parade spectators who arrive on Main Street to view the parade large American flags donated by Steadman’s Ace Hardware for the adults and smaller flags donated by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary for the children. 

Parade attendees may give donations for the flags to help local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1579 members pay for the public fireworks display this year.

The activities in Riverside Park will begin right after the parade and last until 4 p.m. Those planning to attend the festivities should bring lawn chairs for their comfort. Hay bales also will be available to sit on, which Jack Larson is lending for this event.

The Fourth of July Committee would like non-profit groups of all kinds, clubs and service organizations to come out to the park to meet their fund-raising goals or new member recruitment drives or to bring public awareness to their causes after the parade. There is still space available. Call Cliff Sisko at 852-3305 to reserve a designated spot.

Miles City Councilperson Sheena Martin from Ward II will give the Independence Day welcome in the park.

Stan Taylor will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Open Mic Music in the gazebo. Numerous local entertainers will perform throughout the day. To sign up, call Cliff Sisko at 852-3305.

The Custer County District High School Jazz Band, led by Joe Sutton, will be in the park to perform and fund raise. The band members are planning to go to Europe next year for the Northern Ambassadors of Music.

There will be a free lunch offered by Wake Up & Lace Up, a cancer endowment founded by Cindy Reid and Rosa Neese. They will be serving hot dogs and hamburgers, chips and sodas. Donations toward this cause will be accepted. Those who would like to help this organization may call Reid at 853-3532 or Neese at 853-5382.

Approximately 20 non-profit entities have reserved spaces for their booths in the park, so far. The Valley Community Church will offer a bounce house for the children. The church also will offer free cotton candy and snow cones for everyone.

The fifth annual Best-of-Bike Contest is open to everyone, adults and children. 

The fourth annual Fourth of July Mini Cool Car Show also will be in Riverside Park. The Farmers’ Market will be on the east side of the park for attendees’ shopping convenience.

After the parade, the members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1579 will have a hot dog and hamburger barbecue at the VFW Hall, 119 N. Sixth St. The VFW members are raising money for the annual public fireworks display.

This year’s fireworks display will begin at dusk and may be viewed from Riverside Park. According to Cliff Sisko, Quartermaster of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1579, the fireworks are run by Harvey Wolff, who also choreographs the fireworks to patriotic music. 

Sisko added, “The VFW is proud to be able to provide the fireworks display due to the charitable nature of the business community and the people of Miles City.”

Niedgefest 2014 also will be in Riverside Park on the Fourth of July from 4 p.m. to midnight, with a break during the fireworks display. This year’s Niedgefest will feature several bands: Supersonic, Moustache Bandits, Dirty Harry, Good Day Sir, The Telestars and Ken Draper. This event is a family-friendly rock concert that is open to the public free of charge. Niedgefest is sponsored by many Miles City and area businesses and individuals. Anyone who would like to help sponsor Niedgefest or vend at the event should call Brian Niedge at (406) 853-2281.