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A spectacular 4th

Beautiful day had a touch of rain, wind


A light shower rained on our parade, but came nowhere near spoiling Thursday’s Star Spangled Spectacular.

“We are so thankful the weather held off and we had a beautiful day,” said Commodore Holly Schipper, who along with Liz Smith headed the annual two-day celebration. “Most people were able to bear the sprinkles during the parade and stick around for food, fun and entertainment after.”

Rain had been predicted beforehand for the Fourth.

Sun and wind added to the grab bag of weather. A strong gust off the lake blew away the tent sheltering Irish musicians Jane Caldwell and her husband Tony the afternoon of the 4th.They had to cut their performance short.

There were more food vendors this year, always a goal for planners of this big event.

Families enjoyed the inflatables as they made a reappearance at the SSS this year. The inflatable company brought along kids mini-golf, a first.

The event came to a spectacular close with the fireworks display, executed by this year’s grand marshals Orren Knoffloch and his crew. They made the 2024 them “Light up the Sky on the Fourth of July” a reality.

“None of this would be possible without our great committee of volunteers that worked for months to prepare, and the many extra volunteers who showed up to help during the event,” said Liz.

Co-commodores Matt and Linda Ricklefs take over as commodores next year.

The Admiral’s Award

The Admiral’s Award, the Storm Lake Times Pilot’s award for the best entry in the Big Parade, went to La Juanita Taqueria, a favorite Mexican restaurant in Storm Lake affectionally known as La Jua’s.

Guest judges Luciano Tarin Gonzalez of Storm Lake and Megan Molseed of Fonda chose the spirited three-unit extravaganza, which is headed by a van, followed by a live band that plays energetically from a wagon and finally, horses that “dance” to the music.

The band’s name is Destino Norteno. The six members hail from Sioux Center and Omaha. They play Nortena, Banda and Corridos music.

The horses come from La Juanita’s owner Victor Bautista’s farm north of Storm Lake. They are trained to step to the music, said Miguel Duarte, who plays in the band.

The restaurant has been in Storm Lake for 22 years. This is the 20th year they have  participated in the Star Spangled Spectacular parade.

“Juanitas Taqueria has been a great establishment in our community and has put on a great show for the parade for years now,” said judge Tarin Gonzalez. “They really do a great job organizing.”

Molseed, who experienced her first Star Spangled Spectacular Wednesday and Thursday, remarked upon how an act like La Juanita’s would normally be brought in from elsewhere to perform in an Iowa parade. “I love how such an entertaining group is right here in Storm Lake.”

Rosario Bautista, Victor’s mother, also rode in the parade. She called her son “Hijo muy bueno.” “He likes being here out in public.”

South Sioux City is the home of the family’s original La Juanita Taqueria.

Storm Lake, Star Spangled Spectacular, Storm Lake Times Pilot, Admiral's Award, La Juanita Taqueria


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