The Fourth of July in Alpena is a slice of Americana at its best.
Without a doubt no other day compares to it, nor do many communities come close to duplicating it in our eyes.
Fireworks, sandcastles, concerts, barbecues, outdoor recreation and of course, a parade, make the day super special.
And as we all know, everyone loves a good parade.
Or so we hope.
This week Alpena Chamber of Commerce Director Jackie Krawczak announced a number of changes for this year's Independence Day parade, including that entry fees will be charged for most wanting to participate. In addition, participants must agree to have their entry meet a certain "standard." Other changes exist as well, with copies of them available from the chamber office.
Admittedly, at first glance, we wondered about the changes. As we pondered it more, however, we agree the changes should make for a parade with quality entries, much like what the holiday lights parade has evolved into.
The big unknown, of course, is how the public will react to the changes. We won't know that until July 4. If the public accepts the changes in the spirit they are offered, it should make for an even better event. Should people be upset and no longer participate in protest, it would dampen enthusiasm for a long standing tradition.
The chamber board took a gutsy stand and left itself open to criticism from those who won't agree. Change never is easy, especially when it involves an emotional, family event like a parade.
Yet make no mistake, the changes were made based on feedback from residents over recent years. And, when looked at as a whole, the changes make sense and are designed to benefit the event and make viewing the parade even more enjoyable.
We hope support for the parade doesn't waver and yet again, all that's right about our great country can be experienced in Alpena July 4.