Editorial: July 4 event relies on your donations

When the inaugural issue of the Park Bugle hit the streets in July 1974, half of the free-distribution community newspaper’s front page was filled with a schedule of events for the annual Fourth of July celebration at Langford Park.

The day began with baseball and softball games and distance races. The Grand Parade assembled on Luther Place between Como Avenue and Grantham Street at 11:30 a.m. and featured “bike, trike and wagon floats.”

An opening ceremony at the north end of the park began at 12:15 p.m. The afternoon was devoted to tennis, horseshoe and volleyball tournaments and music by Igor Razskazoff ’s Band, Neil Christian’s Country Folk and the Hall Brothers Band, a Dixieland Jazz band from Mendota. A chicken barbecue dinner orchestrated by a group from Murray High School fed the masses at 5 p.m. Cost was $2.50 for adults and $1.75 for children under 12.

Forty years ago, the July 4 celebration was organized by the St. Anthony Park Association, an organization that dismantled a little more than a decade ago.

The Fourth in the Park continues much as it did in 1974, but some things have changed. The baseball and softball games have ended, along with

the chicken dinner, which was replaced by pulled-pork sandwiches and hot dogs served by the Langford Park Booster Club. And it’s now organized by the Fourth in the Park Committee and sponsored by the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation.

What hasn’t changed is it’s still a labor of love for the volunteers who begin in February to pull it together. (Cindy Thrasher and Julie Glowka have been the leaders for two decades, but they are moving on after this year and handing the reins to St. Anthony Park residents Jeanne Hansen, Emma Seeley and Josh Becerra.)

And putting on such a giant community event isn’t free. The Fourth in the Park Committee depends on donations to raise the $11,000 it takes to cover the music, mailing, insurance, advertising, ponies and parade permits.

If you love this annual gathering and want to see it continue, consider donating now—before July 4. You can drop off your donation at Sunrise Bank, 2300 Como Ave., or it mail to Fourth in the Park, PO Box 8062, St. Paul, MN 55108.

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