Angeli named marshal of Wild West Parade
Fred Angeli of Angeli Foods will be marshal at this year’s Wild West Parade this Saturday.
By Peter Nocerini
IRON RIVER—Nearly half a century ago, Fred Angeli helped get the word out about Iron River’s first rodeo. Today, he is just as passionate about the U.P. Championship Rodeo and its place in Iron County.
After stepping up earlier this year when the rodeo needed a hand, the owner of Angeli Foods will be waving to the crowds as parade marshal when the Wild West Parade steps off this Saturday morning, July 18.
“It is an honor,” he said during an interview last week. “My father was a parade marshal. My mother was a parade marshal.”
That is no surprise: Fred’s father, Libero Angeli, brought the rodeo to Iron River in 1968. It was the 50-year anniversary for Angeli Foods, then located at the corner of Adams Street and Seventh Avenue, the current site of Alice’s Supper Club.
“The year prior,” he remembered, “my father had spent considerable time and effort planning for that year, 1968.” Famed artist Lee LeBlanc did a portrait of Alfred and Elvira Angeli, Fred’s grandparents and the store’s founders, over a picture of the old store, and the picture was used throughout the anniversary year.
One of the promotions Libero Angeli came up with was a rodeo. “He got together with Sonny Goodman and a couple of other business people. My father thought it would be a good promotion for the community to have a rodeo.”
Many people worked hard to make that first rodeo happen, and Fred Angeli was one of them. Libero Angeli had thousands of posters printed to spread the word about the rodeo, and it was Fred’s job to make sure people saw them.
“Every day off I had,” he remembered, “I was in the car with a pile of posters, hammer and nails, driving all around the U.P., at every intersection, nailing them up on telephone poles. Hundreds and hundreds. I stopped at every bar, every restaurant.
“Word got out. Everybody knew about it.”
When the city of Iron River celebrated its centennial in 1981, Libero Angeli