On the morning of July 4, rain was threating to put a damper on the 38th New Hope Firecracker Parade. However, as time drew closer, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. Parade participants in a variety of costumes and vehicles started pulling into the field on County T. Terry Ludeman, the parade marshal, began lining up the entries for their march down County T to South Lake Road and up to Trout Creek Road until they reached the crowd and judges at the South New Hope Church. While waiting for the parade to arrive, South New Hope Church was open for viewing where popcorn and water were available. Many parade attendees used the time to connect and visit with neighbors and friends.
The first parade entry was the Central Wisconsin Uke Band led by Chris Kokesh and Sam Booth. A group of ukulele players dressed in Hawaiian shirts strummed and sang out “Jambalaya.” The crowd was asked to join in the singing.
Next was a very creative skit by several children about the Founding Fathers that educated and entertained everyone; Mick Pomeroy followed up with his amazing magic tricks; Ole and Lena’s Food Truck by the Raddatz family offered a variety of ethnic dishes made with lutefisk as well as some Ole and Lena jokes.
The annual crowd favorite Tuba Band played “Bohemian Rhapsody” and polka tunes. They were followed by an eclectic group dancing and singing “Everyday People,” with some from the crowd joining into dance. The entry dedicated their piece to Brenda Gingles, Jane Peterson, and Cindy Irvine. “Kids on Stages, not in Cages” entry had Ila Culver sitting on a litter held on the shoulders of Sarah Ludeman, Pam and Greg Luedtke, and Jem Rein. An original song to the tune of “Home On The Range” was sung about the free- range children in New Hope. The last entry was a polka trio with Paul Groshek on concertina, Mark Groshek on drums and Don Aanrud on rhythm stick. The judges had a challenging task to pick the winners of the coveted paper plate prizes but decided on: First Prize Plate to the Founding Fathers entry and team members Blake Wendlandt, Hollie Singer, Hazel Singer, Allison Raddatz, and Caroline Arneson. Second prize went to Free Range Kids; Third to the Uke Band. Honorable Mention plates went to the Ole and Lena Food Truck; Everyday People, and the Polka Trio. It was another entertaining parade and hopefully it will inspire others to continue the tradition next year.