IRON RIVER—As the village of Alpha celebrates its centennial, there will also be Fourth of July celebrations going on this Friday in the city of Iron River and the village of Amasa.
Iron River events get started at 10 a.m. with a parade that follows a different route from usual. Due to construction on Genesee Street, the parade route has been changed to avoid the construction zone.
It will still start at West Iron County High School and proceed north on Washington Avenue, down Stambaugh Hill.
After turning left at Genesee Street, the parade turns right at River Avenue (where the construction starts), then left again at Adams Street (U.S. 2) and continues west on Adams to the Windsor Center, where it disbands.
Shortly after the parade, there will be games and free ice cream for all children at the West Iron County Fire Department on Ninth Avenue, sponsored by the volunteer firemen.
The fireworks show is scheduled for 10 p.m., with the displays being fired from the north end of Stambaugh Airport. The West Iron County firefighters, led by Chief Al Perlongo, will be in charge of the show. (In case of inclement weather, the fireworks will be fired at 10 p.m. on July 5.)
Registration for the parade starts at 8:30 a.m. on the west side of the high school building. All units are asked to use the street between the school and Kermit’s Bar to enter the school area. Auxiliary members of Legion Posts 17 and 21 and VFW Post 3134 will be in charge of registration, and the parade will form in the south parking lot.
Judges will award prizes in the following categories: adult, youth and non-profit organizations; commercial/industrial, municipal, decorated bikes, antique vehicles and tractors; individual and group horse; and individual and group comic.
Along the parade route, members of West Iron County’s pom dance team will be collecting donations to help cover the ever-rising costs of the Fourth of July parade and fireworks. Anyone wishing to make donations can mail them to West Side Veterans Council, P.O. Box 433, Iron River, MI 49935.
Bob Black will be the parade announcer. Among the units expected to take part will be the Michigan Army National Guard, U.S. veterans groups, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, antique vehicles, decorated floats, bikes, area fire departments and local organizations and businesses.
Veterans who are riding on the World War II-Korea-Vietnam floats will be dropped off at the Windsor Center after the parade. Family members are asked to make arrangements for them to be picked up.
The parade marshals are Harold and Marcia Bernhardt, known for many years of service as teachers and then for their work on behalf of the Iron County Historical Museum.
Harold Bernhardt served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945 and saw action in Tunisia, the Sicily Invasion, Naples, Normandy, northern France, the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhineland and central Europe.
After leaving the Army, he earned degrees at Michigan State and the University of Wisconsin, he spent 32 years teaching, 28 of them in Iron River, where he also served as counselor, mentor and football coach. He also was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to Brazil.
He also served as first president of the Iron County Historical and Museum Society, a post he held for 33 years, and served on the state historical board for 16 years. He and his wife, Marcia, started organizing the museum in 1962 to preserve the area’s rich heritage.
Marcia Bernhardt earned degrees at Michigan State College and Northern Michigan College and taught English for 23 years at the Amasa and Stambaugh schools. She has been a free-lance writer for years, mostly writing about the area’s history and the state of Michigan, and has been a researcher and editor of more than 20 books on local history.
She was director of the first Iron County Historical Site Survey and assisted with nominations of over 120 sites to the state and national registers. With Harold, she has been active with the development and growth of the Iron County Historical Museum for many years and has received many honors from historical groups and organizations.
In Amasa, Fourth of July events start at 9 a.m. with a community hymn sing at Grace United Methodist Church. Later, a rummage sale will be held on the church lawn from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Festivities at the downtown park start at 10 a.m., beginning with the flag-raising ceremony, and presentation of the annual Bino Webber Scholarship. After that, clear the decks for the children’s parade and games.
At 11 a.m., a duck race will be held as a fund-raiser for Amasa’s 125th birthday celebration in 2016.
Lunch will take place at noon at the fire hall, with food, beverages, ice cream and Crackerjack, served by Sion Lutheran Church and the Hematite Township Fire Department.
The Amasa Museum will be open, and the Amasa Historical Society will select winners of its annual raffle at 1 p.m. Several rummage sales will also be taking place around the community.
The annual softball game takes place during the afternoon at the ball field. All are welcome to take part and spend the Fourth in Amasa.