Biggest Little 4th of July Parade
"THE BIGGEST LITTLE PARADE IN THE WORLD" was started on July 4th, 1980. In April of 1980, The United States Hockey team defeated the Russian team in the Olympics and a small group of people, fired with patriotic pride, got together and marched through town waving flags....
That summer was the year of gas shortages and people were requested not to travel on the Fourth of July. The idea was to have a parade and Fourth of July celebration right in Mikana. Local businesses were consulted and the enthusiasm spread. Jean Wolff came up with the name of the parade, saying, "If we are going to have a parade, let's have the biggest little parade in the world." She worked very hard on publicity, (even trying to get into the Guinness Book Of World Records).
In the next few years, Elsie Bartels invested her own money to have parade buttons made, and the rest of the group agonized over whether they could sell enough buttons to return her investment. They did. Now the buttons are a guaranteed seller. Many people have button collections that go all the way back to the beginning of the parade. There is now a collection of all the parade buttons displayed in the Cedar Lake Town Hall, created and donated by Howard and Emily Helfert.
Some of the highlights of the parade have been: Jean Wolff dressed as the Statue of Liberty, the Lombardo family as swamp monsters, and Bob Quillen's outhouse. Joyce Jarzyna was our Drum Majorette for many years of the parade, leading "Joyce's Jewels" a group of local ladies singing patriotic songs. Our youngest participant was Tom Plahn, pulled in a wagon dressed as a clown, and our oldest is George Dana of Sarona, who came for many years impressively dressed as Uncle Sam: looking as if he just stepped off a recruiting poster! We have also had Minutemen, a Chinese Dragon from Long Lake, and Cathy Hatfield as Lady Godiva. Yes, she was clothed!
Each year we honor a special person(s) as the Fourth of July Parade Marshall(s), recognizing their contributions to the community.
WE USED TO HAVE A QUEEN, LITTLE MISS, AND THEIR ATTENDANTS
Our Mikana Queen, Little Miss Mikana, and their attendants were another important part of the parade. We were very proud of our democratic way of choosing these young ladies: the names of the girls living in Cedar Lake Township were placed in a hat and drawn. The Queen and attendant had to be age 13 to 16, and the Little Miss and her attendant had to be age 5 to 9, by the Fourth of July. The first name picked in each category was asked to become Queen or Little Miss. The next name drawn was asked to be an attendant.
The Mikana Queen, Little Miss Mikana, and their attendants were installed in a ceremony on Saturday preceding the parade. To add some time to the program and insert local humor, a musical was created each year featuring Cedar Lakes most talented voices. Sara Wojciechowski created, wrote and directed the coronation play for the past fifteen years.
After the Coronation Lisa Howard and helpers would provide punch and homemade treats for all those attending.
UNFORTUNATELY, DUE TO MODERN RESTRICTIONS, AND SO MANY MORE DEMANDS ON YOUNG PEOPLES TIME, THE PRACTICE OF THE QUEEN, LITTLE MISS, AND THE CORONATION PLAY ENDED IN 2011.
As the parade grew and the committee started to actually make money, it was decided that the money not needed for the support of the parade should be used to benefit the Town of Cedar Lake. Some of the things done with the money include wiring the Town Hall for a sound system, street banners with a goose logo proclaiming "Mikana: Headwaters of Red Cedar River", and a historical marker in the park near the dam, explaining the history of Mikana. Christmas street decorations were purchased in conjunction with Barb's General Store and monies were also used to refurbish the Mikana float, which was re-done a few years ago in a very patriotic theme: red, white, and blue, with American flags.
We have purchased tactical defense equipment (official wording for flack jacket) for our Police Officer (approximately $1,500), donated $500 to the Birchwood Community Education Project for their library program, bought new sound equipment for the day of the parade, and "Welcome to Mikana" signs which are erected at either end of town.
The Parade Committee also spent its monies on a new furnace and air conditioning for the Town Hall, paid for half the cost of new vertical blinds for the Cedar Lake Town Hall, and donates $1,000.00 every year to the fireworks. Money was also spent to re-decorate the "Home Town Spirit" float. In 2009, we purchased a $5,000 Stryker cot for the Birchwood Ambulance EMT's
July 4th, 2019
Registration: 7:45 - 8:45 am
Race Start: 9 am
The race starts and finishes at Cedar Lake Grill. No bikes, please.
Registration - Ages 9+
- Before June 27th - $20 (includes T-shirt)
- After June 27th - $25
Kid's Race - Ages 8 and under
- Before June 27th - $10 (includes T-shirt)
- After June 27th - $15
Family of 4 - Inc. 2 Adults 18+ and 2 Kids Ages 18 and under
- Before June 27th - $50 (includes T-shirts)
- After June 27th - $60
Registration after 6/27: T-shirt not guaranteed (Registrations are non-refundable and non-transferrable.)
Since 1980, Mikana has celebrated our PATRIOTIC PRIDE by hosting The Biggest Little Parade. This fun event is a highlight for residents and visitors alike. As the event has grown, so has the Mikana Parade Raffle, with proceeds supporting the Cedar Lake area. Raffle money has been contributed to Birchwood Four Corners Emergency Services District, Birchwood Area Food Pantry, Pink Ribbon Advocacy, Educational Foundation of Birchwood, “Angel Fund” at Birchwood School, Birchwood Backpack Program, Timber Bay, Rice Lake Library Building Fund, as well as improvements to Mikana Town Hall and Joel Wosepka Park.
You can buy raffle tickets at many local businesses in the Mikana, Birchwood and Rice Lake area or from ticket sellers on the street prior to the drawing at 2pm.
Scheduled for dusk on the 4th of July at Joel Wosepka Park.
Would you like to help with this years Parade?
Please congratulate Jon and Sue Sleik on being named Grand Marshals of the 2019 Biggest Little 4th of July Parade.
Jon and Sue were born in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. They met on a blind date at the same time Jon was completing his MBA from Marquette University. They married in 1974 and moved to Minneapolis, MN where Jon started working for General Mills. In 1976 they moved to the restaurant division in Orlando, FL. In 1988, while living in Orlando, they bought their first home on Red Cedar Lake. Sue and the children would spend their summers at the lake and Jon would join them when he could. In 1995 left General Mills to work at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store headquartered in Lebanon, TN. In 1999 Jon retired and Jon and Sue became full-timers at the lake. They have 3 children and nine grandchildren.
Jon served three years on the Barron County Board of Supervisors and 16 years as the Cedar Lake Town Board Chair. Currently, he chairs the Barron County Zoning Board of Adjustments and serves as President of the Birchwood Four Corners Emergency Services District. Sue is a member of the Red Cedar Community Choir and serves on the board of the Red Cedar Lakes Association. They are both active members of the Long Lake Lutheran Church and volunteer at the Birchwood Food Pantry, Benjamin House, and Lunch Box. They have been on the Mikana Parade Committee since 1999. Jon is an avid golfer and fisherman. Sue enjoys gardening and fishing. They both enjoy playing cards and they love to travel.
Please join the Mikana Parade Committee in honoring Jon and Sue Sleik as the 2019 Parades Marshals.