32 years of Monticello Independence Day fun

Posted June 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm


PHOTO: The Monticello Fire Department is sponsoring “The Breakfast Club,” an ‘80s cover band, on Friday night, July 5, on the Great Jones County Fair stage. The band plays from 7 to 10 p.m., with fireworks to end the festivities.


By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

Little-known fact: The first Fourth of July parade to take place in Monticello to commemorate the holiday was held in 1981. While Monticello had other festivities to celebrate Independence Day, the parade was a first.

According to coverage of the parade that year, an estimated 6,000 people turned out for the parade. The Express exclaimed, “It was a smashing start to the day-long activities.”

A lengthy, descriptive article ran in the July 1, 1981, Monticello Express to help promote the city’s Fourth of July fun.

“Diversity and community involvement summarizes the slate of activities set for this Saturday’s Fourth of July activities in Monticello.”

The parade that year started at 10 a.m. and traveled through downtown Monticello. Entries in the parade were sponsored by local individuals, organizations and businesses. Also included were antique automobiles; farm equipment; pony, mule and horse hitches; and saddle clubs. U.S. Rep. Tom Tauke was scheduled to walk the parade route as well. The high school marching band added to the atmosphere, along with the Dave Dighton Orchestra.

The Grand Marshal that year was Monticello Fire Chief Clarence Goedken. He rode in a 1927 fire truck. The MFD had seven entries in the parade!

Other events that year to mark a first in Monticello: The MFD held a buffalo burger feed. Harness racing took place at the fairgrounds track with racers from Iowa and the Midwest, a field of over 70 entries. The MFD held waterball fights between other local departments and the Jaycees sponsored bathtub races. As always, fireworks went off at dusk.

This year’s Fourth of July festivities in Monticello, 32 years later, will feature an array of events spanning two days of fun for everyone!

The annual Monticello Fire Department’s breakfast will once again be held on Thursday, July 4, from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Berndes Center. From there, find your favorite spot along the parade route, as the parade will start at around 11 a.m.

The parade starts and finishes at the fairgrounds and travels along Seventh Street, Sycamore Street, First Street, Second Street and back to the fairgrounds along Maple Street.

The theme for this year’s parade is “Celebrating Our Progress,” so plan to enter a float for the contest!

Participating in the parade will be the Community Pride honorees and the Lifetime Membership awardee who were announced during the annual Chamber banquet in January: Joel and Leslie Althoff, Rick and Lindsey Meyer, Doug and Leann Herman, Monticello Lions Club, Joe Yedlik and John Harms, and Art Kromminga.

On Friday evening, July 5, head to the fairgrounds for family fun at 6 p.m.! The Monticello Area Chamber of Commerce will provide an adult beverage tent. The Monticello Cubs baseball team will serve food and Wolken Ice Cream will also be selling cold treats.

There will be a variety of several inflatables and activities for kids of all ages sponsored by local businesses.

Then at 7 p.m., head to the track to see “The Breakfast Club” perform on the Great Jones County Fair’s stage, with hits from the ’80s. The band plays from 7 to 10 p.m., with the annual fireworks extravaganza to end the night.

Admission into the fairgrounds is free, but donations are appreciated.

In case of rain, the concert will be moved inside the Berndes Center at the fairgrounds. The rain date for the fireworks is Saturday, July 6.

The Fourth of July events are sponsored by the Monticello Fire Department, the Monticello Chamber, Citizens State Bank, Ohnward Bank & Trust, Goettsch Funeral Home, The Century House and the City of Monticello.