“Hey, don’t make it hotter than it already is,” Ben Brandt yelled as the hot-air-balloon float shot fire in the air July 4.
The 8-year-old Sartell resident was only saying what the crowd along Minnesota Street was thinking during the annual Fourth of July parade. According to the National Weather Service, it was 97 degrees. Despite the heat wave, there was standing room only along the parade route.
Ben’s mother Kathi said they try to attend the parade every year. Ben and his brother Sam Brandt were eagerly waiting for the event to start to reign in the candy.
“We love it,” Kathi said. “It’s a great parade.”
Brandt said her husband Travis came as early as 6 a.m. to find a good spot. He was not alone as many others were out to do the same, she said.
Presented by the St. Joseph Lions Club, the parade featured more than 100 units. This was also the year, the parade committee added new float categories.
Khadeja Craddock of Cold Spring attended the parade with her grandmother. The 13-year-old plays the drums and the piano so it was no surprise that she was looking forward to seeing the marching bands.
“I like watching the parade,” Craddock said. “I like the music.”
There was music, there were freebies and yes, there was candy. Leaving a parade with a bagful of candy can be a sure sign of a successful experience.
Well, it was a good day for St. Joseph resident Aaron Ruesink. The 6-year-old waited patiently for the candy to come his way. And when it did, he was all smiles.
Aaron’s mom Darcy said she and her family have lived in St. Joseph for eight years. Attending the parade is a must each year.
“This is the best parade,” Darcy Ruesink said. “I can’t believe the cool floats. So unique.”
The one that stood out to her was one topped with an inflatable gorilla. Her mother Evelyn DeSent liked the tow-truck train from Andy’s Towing.
“There was such a variety,” DeSent said. “It’s such a great town.”
St. Joseph resident Gina Nowicki comes to the parade every year. She has lived in St. Joseph for seven years. She attended the event July 4 with her children Kassidy, 12, and Kody, 10, and her mother Linda Stocker of St. Cloud.
“I’m a people person,” Gina Nowicki said. “I like to watch the people.”
For Linda Stocker, the parade was all about spending time with her grandchildren. It was the first time in a few years she was able to do so. She was glad to be there with them this year, she said.
She has been coming to the Fourth of July Parish Festival and parade for years. The tradition after the parade is to grab a Joe Burger and a cold beer. Such is the case this year, she said with a smile.