When the Fourth in the Park Grand Parade marches down Como Avenue next year, Julie Glowka and Cindy Thrasher will be watching on the sidelines for the first time in 20 years.
Glowka and Thrasher, who have coordinated the July 4 parade and picnic in St. Anthony Park for nearly two decades (Thrasher started in 1994, and Glowka started in 1995), are ending their tenure this year and handing the reins to some younger neighbors, Jeanne Hansen, Emma Seeley and Josh Becerra.
In honor of their years of pulling together the mailings, parade, food, horseshoe and volleyball tourneys, music and all the volunteers that make it happen—work that begins each year in February—they will receive the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation’s Spirit of the Park Award during the program at the band shell following the parade.
Thrasher was pregnant with her youngest son, Ryan, in 1994 when she began coordinating the event. She never made it to the park on July 4 that year, however, as Ryan was born at 4:29 a.m.
Glowka joined Thrasher as co- coordinator the following year. The two grew up in St. Anthony Park and lived next door to each other on Commonwealth Avenue when they were very young.
Glowka, who is two years older than Thrasher, walked her young neighbor to kindergarten at St. Anthony Park Elementary School and to swimming lessons at Murray High School. And they decorated their bikes together for the Fourth of July parade, Thrasher said.
They both left the neighborhood for a short time and lived in nearby suburbs, but moved back and raised their families here. “Cindy’s mom said we moved back because we wanted sidewalks,” Glowka said.
The Spirit of the Park Award is the second honor Glowka and Thrasher will receive this year for their work. The District 12 Community Council named them to the City of St. Paul’s Neighborhood Honor Roll in January.
While they are honored to receive the attention, Glowka said, “we have mixed feelings. There are so many people in the neighborhood who have done just as much if not more than us.”
The Fourth in the Park schedule is printed below.