REXBURG — The Chamber of Commerce hopes to make the upcoming 4th of July more fun by making it safer this year.
“It’s our goal as a Chamber to make the parade as interactive and as fun as it always has been. That is one of the great things about a small town parade, and we don’t want to destroy that aspect of it,” said Chamber President Christopher Mann. “The committee has been working hard to come up with ways to ensure that the parade still has that same patriotic and interactive feel, but is safe for everybody who attends.”
One way the Chamber hopes to implement increased safety measures is via “Parade Rangers.” The rangers will serve as parade guides in helping participants peruse down the street.
It’s expected that there will be seven rangers assigned to every 12 to 15 parade entrants.
“When one stops, they’ll stop everyone else, so we don’t have big gaps,” he said. “We hope to avoid the gaps in the parade with the rangers. We hope they keep the parade moving.”
Mann said the chamber is grateful for those who have volunteered to serve as rangers.
“I think people who participate in the parade will appreciate the new way we’re setting up. There will be more people around the park to help them find their places. It’s going to be a great parade,” Mann said.
Another way the Chamber plans to increase safety is by painting a white chalk stripe down Main street. Such will keep a secure distance between parade participants and parade watchers, he said.
“That will be the line where people will have to stay back behind. We’re working with those on the floats and participants to make sure the candy is thrown back behind the line,” Mann said.
Parade rangers will also remind visitors to stand back and away from the entrees as they parade down Main Street, he said.
Plans call for the parade to start at 10 a.m., at Smith Park. It will end about an hour and a half later just past Porter Park.
Mann said that the parade crowd gets bigger and bigger every year.
“We will make the adjustment to handle the bigger crowds. We’re thankful for police who help us maintain and close off the roads,” he said.
Mann said safety measures were created after letters citing safety concerns were sent to city officials following last year’s Rexburg 4th of July parade.
“Kids were running out in the road, or they (entrants) didn’t throw the candy back far enough — things likes that,” Mann said. “We’re doing everything we can to address it. I don’t want the parade to be so stiff and organized that it’s not fun. The parade is very interactive, so we’re keeping those aspects.”
So far the Chamber has received around 80 parade entries.
“We’re ahead of where we were last year,” Mann said.
Those entrees include floats, bands and dancing groups. The chamber is still accepting parade applications. Plans still allow for organizations to pass out their flyers and other items as they walk down the street just as they have in the past, he said.
“We work hard to invite people into the parade that we think would be crowd pleasers and interesting. Certainly, we encourage floats, horses and bands,” he said.
Mann said that so far there weren’t any new or unusual entries but that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionaries planned to return to help.
“They’ve been invited to participate as banner carriers and pooper scoopers which was a big hit. The crowd loves it,” Mann said.
Following the parade, the chamber will host a party at Porter Park. There the Madison High School Band will entertain while various vendors set up booths.
“It’s really not a moneymaker for us. We appreciate the businesses that participate. They help pay for the parade. This is brought to people by the generosity of the Chamber of Commerce and its sustaining and supportive members,” Mann said.
Mann also thanked the City of Rexburg for its help in enabling the parade to continue every year.
“The Chamber expresses gratitude for the city and for their help in accomplishing this. We’re excited for those people who have volunteered to be rangers in the parade,” Mann said. “I think people, who participate in the parade, will appreciate the new way we’re setting it up. There will be somebody there to help and more people around the park to help them find their places. It’s going to be a great parade.”
For more information on adding an entry into the parade, call the Chamber at 208-356-5700 or stop by the Chamber at 167 W. Main Suite 2.