Fireworks, family fun at Stars & Stripes on Saturday

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The June 30 Stars & Stripes celebration boasts summertime activities for fun-loving event goers of all ages. (Press photo by Shelia Tomkins)

By Molly Moser

Classic Independence Day traditions will be honored at this year’s Stars and Stripes Celebration. The iconic summer event is scheduled to take place this Saturday, June 30, kicking off with the Farmer’s Market at 8 a.m. on the 400 block of South River Park Drive, and ending in the timeless custom of fireworks over the Mississippi River. Clayton Ridge Schools will host a 5K Walk/Run that morning, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. at the gazebo in Ingleside Park.

Honoring our river town heritage: The Lockmaster’s Heritage House Museum, which is the last remaining lockmaster’s house in its original location along the Mississippi, will be open for visitors from 12 noon to 4 p.m. The Lock and Dam #10 observation deck, where boats and barges can be seen locking through, is open all day. Guttenberg’s DNR Fish Hatchery, located at 331 S. River Park Drive, opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday for viewing of live river animals. 

Family fun in the park: Food, music, and games in the park begin at 3 p.m. Tasty treats will include cotton candy, funnel cakes, sandwiches, fried treats, ice cream, kettle corn, walking tacos, nachos, snow cones, hot dogs, lemonade shake-ups and more. Children’s games will include barrel train rides, an inflatable obstacle course, a giant slide, a bounce house and  face painting. Members of Clayton Ridge Schools traveling to Paris and Barcelona will host games in the park including water balloon launch, balloon race, plinko, paddle wheel, ring toss, over the rainbow, and a balloon pop game. The Army National Guard will bring their rock climbing tower to the park for more entertainment.

A new bingo tent, courtesy of The Guttenberg Motel and St. Mary's Church, will open at 3 p.m. in the park.

A painting class for ages 12 and up (or youth with adult supervision) will be held in the gazebo from 10-11:30 a.m. Rabecca Hennessey of Bent Willow Studio will lead students through the painting of a fish. Advance registration recommended at

Music by The After Party will entertain event-goers all afternoon in the park.

Friendly competition begins with a bean bag tournament in the park at 4 p.m. A watermelon-eating contest for all ages will be held in the gazebo at 5 p.m.

New this year is the Catfish Selfie Contest sponsored by The Guttenberg Motel. Festival-goers are invited to vote for their favorite photo of a local child in the park following an evening performance of  the Clayton Ridge Drill Team.

Beverage garden: The traditional beverage garden in the park will be open from 4 to 10:30 p.m., offering water, soda, and alcoholic beverages within listening distance of musical entertainment. 

Dancing: The award-winning Clayton Ridge Drill team will perform a series of dance routines in front of the Veteran's Monument on River Park Drive following the parade. 

The Stars and Stripes parade, a staple of the annual celebration, will begin at 7 p.m. The parade will travel from the south marina down River Park Drive, ending at Main Street. The parade will feature floats, decorated bicycles, golf carts, wagons and mini-floats, as well as local emergency services and musical groups including the Clayton Ridge High School band and the Guttenberg German Band.

"Our 'Reelin' in Summer Fun' theme is intended to go along with the Umbrella Arts community sculpture contest and the arrival of the fish sculpture in the park later this summer," said Chamber Director Mandy Ludovissy. 

Community members, businesses, families and dignitaries are encouraged to create floats for the parade. Parade entries will be judged in the following categories: golf carts/UTVs, bikes/wagons, floats for organizations or businesses and a new category, family floats. "Families are encouraged to show their idea of family fun in designing a float," Ludovissy explained. 

Prizes will be awarded in all categories. First place in the parade for the business/organization category is a 2019 Chamber of Commerce membership. First place for the family float category is a pool punch card and a gift card for Joe's Pizza. Second place prizes for both categories, as well as first and second place prizes for the golf cart and bike categories, will be Guttenberg Bucks.

Entrants need not pre-register, but should arrive at Meuser Lumber at 6 p.m. to line up. Anyone in the community is welcome to enter a float. A float will be provided for all veterans wishing to ride in the parade, who may also gather at 6 p.m. at Meuser's.

The parade route remains unchanged, starting at Meuser Lumber Company and proceeding north on River Park Drive before ending at Main Street. "The street in front of the school will be opened for the parade," Ludovissy told The Press. 

Clayton Ridge High School 2018 graduate Madison Freeland will sing the Star-Spangled Banner at dusk in the band shell. Fireworks will begin as darkness settles over the river, bringing the time-honored Stars and Stripes Celebration to a close.

The family-oriented Stars and Stripes Celebration is one of Guttenberg’s most popular summer events. Celebrating the birth of our great nation while creating fond family memories is an important project, and volunteers are needed to help this special day go smoothly. If you are able to help out, please contact the Welcome Center at 252-2323.

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