One would have thought that St. Joseph had become a major metro city all of a sudden Monday and Tuesday during the city’s annual Fourth of July Festival.
There were tens of thousands of jam-packed people in the streets and on the grounds of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
The JoeTown Rocks concert was, as usual, a great crowd-pleaser, with its variety of music from talent of every age group. The night was capped with a tribute to the music of Bobby Vee, a concert that featured Vee’s two sons and some relatives, among others.
The next day, on a sultry-hot-but-slightly-breezy morning, people began lining up very early with blankets and chairs and coolers along the sidewalks and side streets of St. Joseph’s main street for the big parade. The two-hour, 103-unit parade featured no high-school marching bands, but it had plenty of vehicles, floats, trucks, trucks and more trucks – many of them blasting their horns loudly all along the parade route. Some of the units were political, Democrat and Republican; some were local companies; others represented pro-life groups; still others were members of activities groups like National Karate. There were also classic cars, antique tractors and honored celebrities, including St. Joseph Mayor Rick Schultz, Parade Grand Marshals Jerry and Patty Wetterling and St. Joseph Seniors of the Year Chuck and Mary Kay Kern. One of the crowd-pleasers this year was a contingent of Shetland ponies, with two of them so small and delicate they drew oohs-and-ahs and smiles from spectators.
After the parade, there was a concert by local favorite Smoke’N Guns, as well as a wide variety of snacks and beverages from food vendors, bingo, the annual Catholic Parish Quilt Auction and lots of games for children.
After the parade, there was a long traffic jam leading from St. Joseph eastbound on CR 75. The traffic jam was proof of the sheer number of out-of-towners who visited St. Joseph for the parade and other activities.