Celebrating liberty and local history

This Fourth of July, local communities not only celebrated independence, but local history and what lies in the future.

The Anchor Point Fourth of July parade, organized by the VFW Post 10221, was perhaps the largest in recent years — including floats from multiple local organizations such as the Anchor Point Senior Center and Anchor Point Food Pantry, and longtime and new businesses like the Anchor Point Greenhouse, Ramiro’s and the recently opened Angry Salmon.

Community members answered the call for anyone and everyone to participate in the parade, making it an “unforgettable” event. A potluck barbecue at the VFW following the parade made for a “fun-filled” holiday.

Homer also saw high turnout for their annual Fourth of July parade, from the spectators who crowded both sides of Pioneer Avenue to those who walked, rode or drove in the parade itself.

This year’s parade theme was “Historical Homer,” and participants were invited to dress in costume or design their floats in ways that reflected and celebrated Homer’s rich past.

Chris Story, owner of Story Realty in Homer, and his daughter, Zoe, served as emcees at the judging station at Bay Realty, while Lion’s Club president Bernie Griffard was an emcee at a second judging station located at the Art Shop Gallery. As floats proceeded down Pioneer Avenue and paused before each judging station, the emcees shared historical information with the crowd about each parade entrant.

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Bay Realty, also one of the presenting parade sponsors, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The Homer Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the parade annually, is celebrating 75 years of service to the Homer community — a milestone they incorporated in their parade float that carried Parade Grand Marshal “Homer Pennock,” for whom the city is named, and advertised their ongoing raffle for a chance to win $75,000 in gold.

Homer Police Officer Kellen Stock led the parade in an HPD vehicle. Story noted that HPD has been leading Homer’s Fourth of July parade for over 30 years.

The Homer Volunteer Fire Department had a procession of emergency vehicles “from the oldest to the newest” — from their most historic truck, a 1953 Willy’s Jeep, to the department’s newest firefighting unit, Brush-24, which was specially fabricated for HVFD by Lower Peninsula Power Sports and will be used to fight wildland fires along Homer’s beaches and in the back country.

HVFD’s other recent acquisition, Ladder-29, was one of two ladder trucks working to display a large American flag over the center of Pioneer Avenue. The second truck was operated by Kachemak Emergency Services.

Homer Animal Friends, founded in 1984, highlighted the work they have done to help local pets and pet owners, address pet overpopulation and support the city’s animal shelter.

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South Peninsula Hospital highlighted the work they’ve done in caring for the community “for nearly eight decades and five generations,” since it was founded in 1956.

The cast of the recently opened musical comedy, “Spit Tunes,” gave a sample of their advertised “mediocre dancing” for the judges at Bay Realty. The show, playing at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesdays through July as part of the Alaska World Arts Festival, presents a “feisty and lovable version of Homer’s true-ish colorful past.”

Bunnell Street Arts Center brought back their two-person wearable, walkable puppet of Homer’s “latest and greatest historical celebrity,” Grubby the Virginia opossum, who stole the hearts of Homer residents when she arrived as a stowaway on a shipping container in March 2023. Grubby, now living in the Anchorage Zoo, inspired an “ardent” local fan club and created a “social media storm” during her short stay in Homer.

Wagon Wheel Garden & Pet, a longtime Homer business, began as the Wagon Wheel Ranch in the 1960s. It became the Wagon Wheel Trading Post in 1972 when Woody and Barb Walker bought the property from original owner, Pete Lenz, and built the current store. Steve and Stacey Veldstra took over the business in 2015, continuing the Walkers’ mission of “selling a little bit of everything.”

The Friends of the Homer Public Library returned to the parade with BOB the Bookmobile, which was introduced in 2016. The Homer Public Library has been a part of the community since the 1940s, when the Homer Women’s Club built the first library on Pioneer Avenue. That first library served Homer’s 320 residents; today, HPL serves more than 18,000 people and has over 70,000 items in circulation.

The Alaska Japanese Club showed off their drumming skills on the new taiko drums, which they helped build earlier this spring as part of Homer’s 40th anniversary celebrations with its sister city, Teshio, in Hokkaido, Japan.

Multiple other businesses, organizations and individuals participated in this year’s parade. Additionally, several antique vehicles were included in the parade lineup, from a 1930 Ford Model A to historic trucks and cars from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

2024 HOMER FOURTH OF JULY PARADE CONTEST RESULTS

Best Use of Theme — South Peninsula Hospital

Best of Show — Wagon Wheel

Judges Favorite — Rooted Tree Service

Red Lantern — Spit Tunes

SPECIAL CATEGORY WINNERS

Cars, Trucks, Machinery — Rooted Tree Service

Performing Arts — Spit Tunes

Animals — Homer Animal Friends

Children’s Group — Alaska Japanese Club

VFW Post 10221 member Eric Henley rides a tractor in the Anchor Point Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

VFW Post 10221 member Eric Henley rides a tractor in the Anchor Point Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Participants in the Anchor Point Fourth of July parade toss candy out to kids and spectators on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Participants in the Anchor Point Fourth of July parade toss candy out to kids and spectators on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Community members drive an assortment of vehicles in the Anchor Point Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Community members drive an assortment of vehicles in the Anchor Point Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Ninilchik Rodeo Royalty Etolin Mill (right) and Jordan Barrowcliff lead riders in the Anchor Point Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Ninilchik Rodeo Royalty Etolin Mill (right) and Jordan Barrowcliff lead riders in the Anchor Point Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters pass out candy to kids and spectators along Pioneer Avenue during the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters pass out candy to kids and spectators along Pioneer Avenue during the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

The Homer Chamber of Commerce’s float in the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, celebrates their 75th anniversary in Homer, Alaska, in the spirit of the parade’s theme, “Historical Homer.” The float carried parade grand marshal Homer Pennock, for whom the city is named, and advertised the chamber’s raffle for $75,000 in gold. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

The Homer Chamber of Commerce’s float in the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, celebrates their 75th anniversary in Homer, Alaska, in the spirit of the parade’s theme, “Historical Homer.” The float carried parade grand marshal Homer Pennock, for whom the city is named, and advertised the chamber’s raffle for $75,000 in gold. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

AC/DC Electrical Supply participates in the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024 in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

AC/DC Electrical Supply participates in the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024 in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

South Peninsula Hospital employees march in the Fourth of July parade, celebrating 65 years of care on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

South Peninsula Hospital employees march in the Fourth of July parade, celebrating 65 years of care on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Bunnell Street Arts Center members participate in the Fourth of July parade with a wearable, walkable artwork of Grubby the Virginia opossum on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. In the rear, a parade participant wearing an opossum mask waves a sign reading, “Grubby for Prez.” (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

Bunnell Street Arts Center members participate in the Fourth of July parade with a wearable, walkable artwork of Grubby the Virginia opossum on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. In the rear, a parade participant wearing an opossum mask waves a sign reading, “Grubby for Prez.” (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

The Alaska Japanese Club, pulled along in their float by a 1961 Diesel Fordson Major tractor which the Anderson family purchased new and has continuously used on their homestead, waves to the crowd along Pioneer Avenue and performs taiko drumming during the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

The Alaska Japanese Club, pulled along in their float by a 1961 Diesel Fordson Major tractor which the Anderson family purchased new and has continuously used on their homestead, waves to the crowd along Pioneer Avenue and performs taiko drumming during the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

A line of antique cars proceeds down Pioneer Avenue during the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

A line of antique cars proceeds down Pioneer Avenue during the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

The Sealegs Stilt Troupe dances down Pioneer Avenue during the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

The Sealegs Stilt Troupe dances down Pioneer Avenue during the Fourth of July parade on Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

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