Clear Lake is ready to resume Fourth of July celebration

(Above) The Clear Lake Fire Department will be one of two Grand Marshals in this year’s Fourth of July parade.  The department is being honored for celebrating their 150th anniversary this year.

In a year when we have all been longing to “return to normal,” Clear Lake is thrilled to be resuming its fabulous Fourth of July celebration!  

Jim Tjaden was to be the 2020 Parade Grand Marshal, but because there was no parade last year, he will be honored this year. Tjaden was one of the founders of the Lakeside DixieFest.

Clear Lake’s Fourth of July parade will be a bit unusual this year in a couple of ways.  

First, the parade will actually be held on Monday, July 5.  The rule of thumb through the years has always been to move the 10 a.m. parade to Monday if the holiday falls on a Sunday, like it does this year.  

In addition, there are actually two parade Grand Marshals honored this year.  

Members of the Clear Lake Fire Department have been named by the Chamber of Commerce Fourth of July Committee as the 2021 Grand Marshal.  The department is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.  

And because there was no parade last year due to the pandemic, the 2020 Grand Marshal, Jim Tjaden, will also be honored.  

Tjaden was one of the founders of the Lakeside DixieFest, which culminated a 27-year run in 2019. 

  Jim says he is filled with memories of performing at DixieFest as a member of the host band, The Raiders of the Lost Art, as well as welcoming performers from around the globe to Clear Lake. The Raiders had been playing at the Brucemore Fest in Cedar Rapids for four years when Jim suggested to his band mates that they could hold their own celebration of Dixie music in Clear Lake City Park.  He joined with original band members Rich Dean and Ken Schneider to form a non-profit corporation which could accept donations to fund the festival.

Tom and Nancy Evans, owners of Evans Untied Shows, made a commitment to keep their workforce of roughly 50 people employed during the pandemic. They are excited to be continuing their 40-plus year run in Clear Lake June 30-July 5.

As it has done for more than 40 years, Evans United Shows will serve as the centerpiece for the town’s spectacular six-day holiday gathering, June 30-July 5.

Pat Cates, office manager for Evans United Shows, said the business was a bit late getting started with its 2021 calendar, but it is now in full swing and more popular than ever.  

Cates explained they are operating with COVID-19 safety in mind.  Hand-sanitizer stations will be placed in the park among the rides, games and concessions, which will be set up as usual.  Social distancing is encouraged.  The majority of Evans employees are also vaccinated, she reports.

Owners Tom and Nancy Evans were committed to keeping all employees  on the payroll during 2020, when virtually all of their bookings were cancelled due to the pandemic. They took advantage of the time to re-paint equipment, install new light packages and fine tune the multitude of rides and attractions they offer. 

In addition to tried and true favorites, like the Tilt-A-Whirl, there are thrill rides like “The Genesis,” a bench-seat ride which travels in circular motion, Evans United Shows has the Loop and Spider, along with kids favorites such as the Moon Walk bounce house, Go-Gator coaster, motorcycle ride and slide.  “Freak Out!”, purchased from a manufacturer in the Netherlands, joined the thrill ride roster in 2019. For those who missed it, the large arm of the ride swings back and forth while riders in seats are rotated.  

This year two Wristbands Days will be offered by the carnival. On Friday, July 2, and Monday, July 5, ride all the rides you want between noon and 5 p.m. for just $20.  

The carnival will be in town from June 30 through July 5 this year, opening at 5 p.m. on its first day, then at noon Thursday through Monday.

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