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Alpena Chamber seeks future planners for Fourth of July parade

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce President Adam Poll, left, and director of events Alisha Bouchard, show off bracelets that are being sold to raise money for this year’s Fourth of July fireworks show. The chamber is also planning the annual Independence Day parade, but is seeking another group or business to help, and take over the responsibility next year.

ALPENA — After not having a parade on Independence Day last summer, the odds are good one will stream through Alpena on July 4.

The future of the parade beyond that is unclear.

For years, the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce has organized and planned the parade, but as the number of volunteers and staff have dwindled, it’s become harder to do, and still fulfill duties to its members.

Several years ago, Performance Locker took over parade planning responsibility, but it was forced to close due to the business climate during the COVID-19 pandemic and can no longer host the parade.

Chamber President Adam Poll said a group, club, organization, or business needs to step up and help the chamber this year to help with the parade, learn its ins and outs, and then take it over in 2022.

Poll did not commit to the chamber organizing the parade next year if nobody comes forward to help.

“We want to have the parade and will do everything we can to do it this year, but we don’t have the manpower to take over the full event anymore,” Poll said. “We are looking for partners that we can work with this year that could potentially take it over next year. It is a little work, and some volunteers needed, but it is something the entire community benefits from.”

Poll said planning the parade includes working with the city and local law enforcement to iron out details of the route, time, and other logistics, as well as having boots on the ground to get parade participants organized before the parade begins.

Poll said most of the work is done the day of the event.

If the parade is a go this year, it will have a different route and time than normal. Poll said the detour down 11th Avenue due to the construction of the Bagley Street bridge, creates too much traffic in front of the Alpena County Fairgrounds, and the parade would impede it.

The fairgrounds is where the parade assembles and begins.

Poll said a new route he believes will work will be pitched to the city for approval, but details about it were not released.

Since the holiday lands on a Sunday this year, the parade would be pushed back a few hours to accommodate those who attend church.

The Chamber is also spearheading the fundraising drive for the annual fireworks display on July 4. As in years past, it is selling glow-in-the-dark bracelets for a recommended donation of $5, that will go toward the $23,000 goal.

About $9,500 has been collected so far, Alisha Bouchard, director of events, said. There are several public bracelet sale events scheduled in a push to raise the needed funds.

One will be on May 15 at Perch’s IGA, and the other June 4 at the chamber office.

Bouchard said people and businesses can donate or purchase a bracelet at the chamber until June 23.

If the target goal is not met, Bouchard said the fireworks show won’t be as large as normal.

“Money is trickling in, but if we don’t reach the goal the show will be scaled back,” she said.

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