Eastman parade canceled, other events as planned on July 4

By Correne Martin

Fourth of July in Eastman will be celebrated a little differently this year. The parade has been canceled, but the fireworks and the rest of the festivities will go on as planned, with some new activities in store.
Due to the closure of Highway 35 from flood damage, the detour route is bringing a higher amount of traffic along Highway 27 through Eastman. This has caused the state to revoke the village’s permit to hold a parade on its main street.

“We’re disappointed, but we want the public to know that this isn’t by our choice. The state has rescinded our permit because of the detour,” said Jill Forde, of the Eastman Community Club. “Everything else on the Fourth will be held as planned this year, and the parade will be back next year.”

The community club has planned a few new events in place of the parade.

The holiday fast pitch tournament will begin the night before the Fourth, on July 3. The championship will take place Thursday, at 6 p.m.

On the Fourth, a pancake breakfast will kick off the day of entertainment, from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m.; this is a fundraiser for the Little League. Local country musician Kayla Taylor will sing the Star Spangled Banner at 8:45 a.m.

A bean bag tournament and volleyball will begin in the morning at the ball park, where food and beverages will also be served all day. Kids Olympic games are set to start around noon. Two bouncy houses as well as a dunk tank will be free all day.

Individuals and organizations who planned to enter a float in Eastman’s parade may donate their candy to the Candy Hunt, taking place at the ball park during the kids games. If interested in donating, contact the village office at (608) 874-4361.

In the evening, Zumba is scheduled above Captain’s bar from 6 to 7 p.m. The GMCs band will play live music at the park, with a raffle drawing set for 8 p.m.

As always, a fireworks display will be shot off at dusk, and it is said to be bigger and better than ever this year.

According to Lloyd Beers, Eastman has put on a Fourth of July celebration since the 1920s, when they called it a Picnic in the Park. Back then, the picnic took place on land near the intersection of Main Street and Shanghai Ridge.

In the early years, the village’s American Legion post and fire department rotated years of responsibility for parade and activity planning. Then, in 1956, the Eastman Community Club took over, but in their first year, the parade was rained out shortly after its start.

According to Dennis Pelock, this is the first year the parade has ever been canceled due to circumstances other than rain.

For those seeking a parade to enter or watch on July 4, there are two other options in the area. Bagley will hold its annual parade down Bagley Avenue at 10:30 a.m., and Boscobel’s annual parade will be at noon along Wisconsin Avenue.

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