49th annual Chugiak Fourth of July Parade is hottest ever

Friday, July 5, 2019 - 15:46
  • Brylen Bryant of Birchwood waves a pair of small flags during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Members of the Alaska Celtic Pipes and Drums march down the Old Glenn Highway during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Members of the Alaska Celtic Pipes and Drums group march down the Old Glenn Highway during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Eagle River’s Chris Grasse takes a drink of water at the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Bob Sherrill of the Eagle River VFW hands out American flags during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Isabelle Massey grabs candy from the Old Glenn Highway during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • An American flag waves over the Old Glenn Highway during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Carolyn Gilliland, 14, rides her unicycle during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Alaska Celtic Pipes and Drums bagpiper Douglas Struder smiles as pipe major Richard Christiansen helps tune his bagpipe during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • The color guard marches during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Crowds wave and cheer during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Darnell Little of the Spenard Lions Club waves from his 1965 Pontiac Catalina Convertible during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Everett and Madilynn Dwyer catch candy from a Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department truck during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Everett Dwyer grabs a piece of candy during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Floats during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Kenzie Just smiles as she picks up candy during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • The Chugiak Fourth of July Parade was held July 4, 2019 on the Old Glenn Highway in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Vehicles and floats drive down the Old Glenn Highway during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Dick and Sharon Prien walk their Golden Retrievers Syrah, Dani and Cali in the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • A float during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • A woman gestures to a pickup truck at the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Sen. Shelly Hughes hands out candy during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • A member of the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department throws candy during the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade on July 4, 2019 in Chugiak. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)

Umbrellas lined the Old Glenn Highway for the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade Thursday, but the only thing raining from the sky was candy.

Record temperatures greeted paradegoers for the 49th annual event, which ran from the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department Latimer Station to the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in the Anchorage area reached 89 degrees on Thursday, the highest ever recorded since record-keeping began in 1952. The previous high temperature for the city was 85 degrees set in 1969.

JR’s Septic anticipated the brutal temperatures and provided bottled water along the parade route, with company owners Michael and Kay Wehr joined by Michael Wehr’s mom, Carolyn, in pulling coolers of bottled water along the two-mile route.

“I’m pretty sure no one wants any part of that truck in the heat,” joked Carolyn Wehr.

Kay Wehr said the company brought 440 bottles of water to the event as a way to help people beat the heat.

“It’s just so hot,” she said.

Sarah and Ryan Massey drove out from Anchorage for the parade, which is popular with kids because — unlike the Anchorage Fourth of July Parade — floats are allowed to throw candy. The Massey kids cleaned up Thursday after the family drew a large chalk “CANDY” sign on the hot blacktop of the Old Glenn.

“I just like the quiet setting out here,” Sarah Massey said of the event, which passed through the original Chugiak townsite founded in the 1950s.

The parade featured the usual assortment of fire engines, floats, classic cars, politicians and community organizations. Winners in several categories were announced shortly after the conclusion of the event Thursday afternoon. Winning Most Patriotic was the Chugiak Lions float, the Alaska Celtic Pipes and Drums won Best Music, the Vietnam Veterans and Fallen Linemen on Judges’ Choic, Frontier Fun Flyers were crowned Best Decorated, the Mountain Music Family Festival was named Best Family Group, unicyclist Carolyn Gilliland won Best Girl and the American Legion Post 33 won the Fire Chief Award.

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