By Ben Olson
The Sandpoint Lions Club Fourth of July celebrations are back this year, and organizers promise they will be better than ever.
After taking a year off in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lions will again host the Independence Day parade and fireworks show, as the service organization has for almost seven decades in Sandpoint.
The theme this year is, “It Takes a Community,” which Lions’ Vice President Janice Rader said was chosen both to show community spirit, as well as give a nod to the long road traveled by the community during the past year-and-a-half amid the pandemic.
“We didn’t want to focus on the pandemic, but at the same time, it took a community to survive this,” Rader told the Reader. “It had a ring to it, so we thought it would be the perfect theme this year. We survived and we’re better than ever.”
The grand marshal of this year’s parade will be a departure from the norm, with the Lions Club honoring all essential workers and representatives from various essential careers taking the lead in the parade.
The parade schedule will follow the same time and route as years past: the Children’s Parade will start at 9 a.m. and the Grand Parade will kick off at 10 a.m., with the route beginning at Fifth Avenue and Church Street, winding down Church to First Avenue and up Cedar Street back to the starting point.
“We have already had a huge amount of signups for parade floats,” Rader said. “People are going above and beyond to build some amazing floats this year. We’re excited to see what our community is bringing out.”
Float registration is open until the day of the event and applications are available on the Lions’ Facebook page at facebook.com/SandpointLionsClub. Registration is $25 or $35 if registering on July 4.
A new offering this year will be a small number of souvenir T-shirts, available at the registration table on the corner of Church Street and Fifth Avenue. Anyone who donates $20 or more gets a free T-shirt while supplies last.
Starting at 1 p.m. the Lions will give away free ice cream at Sandpoint City Beach — just look for the area roped off under tents. The one major change this year will be no raffle, but Rader said that will return next year.
The annual fireworks display will begin at dusk at Sandpoint City Beach, which usually occurs between 9-10 p.m.
“We are planning an extraordinary display,” Rader said.
All proceeds earned from the Lions Club’s festivities on the Fourth of July will help fund the group’s ongoing philanthropic community projects, including the annual Easter Egg Hunt, a sight and hearing program providing eyeglasses and hearing aids for the community, the annual Halloween Haunted House, books provided to local day care centers, support for the Canine Companions for Independence program, Toys for Tots and raising the U.S. flag on participating businesses during federal holidays, to name just a few.
Visit the Sandpoint Lions Club’s Facebook page for more information.
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