“There’s No Place like Alliance!” That’s the theme for this year’s Heritage Days, a week long community celebration that kicked off on Tuesday, July 16.
The ‘No Place like Alliance’ theme is a play off the ‘No Place like Home’ famous saying from the Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz is 80 years old and this is the 40th year for the event that began in 1980 as a celebration of Alliance’s heritage.
The Grand Marshal was announced during the opening event on Tuesday by the Central Park Fountain. This year that honor went to Hemingford resident and business owner Dave Randolph.
“I was so surprised that they chose me,” Randolph said. “I’m completely honored and humbled.”
Randolph owns and operates Dave’s Pharmacy for the past five years in Hemingford. This month Dave’s celebrated its first year at the location in Alliance.
“Doug Shaver (previous owner of the pharmacy in Hemingford) asked me the other day, ‘did you ever imagine that within five years you would be where you’re at today?’ Not at all, when Blanche and I bought that little store we just thought that would be our own quiet little store. It’s been really exciting to see it take off like it has,” Randolph said.
Randolph and his granddaughter Jessa rode on the Grand Marshal float in the parade on Saturday morning.
Family Night was set up along the walking path near the fountain on Tuesday evening as well. Something new this year was the Movie in the Park courtesy of Holiday Inn Express.
The sidewalks sales and food vendors on the bricks downtown began on Wednesday. Downtown was packed that evening during the first night for the Frazier Shows Carnival. As the first of two nights of wristband nights, Wednesday and Thursday, the lines are always long but the fun of the rides is worth the wait.
That evening was the second year for the Lip Sync Battle competition at Newberry’s. Such a fun event filled with laughter. The Keep Alliance Beautiful group walked away as the champions for the second year in a row. The team this year was KAB Director Kathy Worley, Kyle McCarville, Dave Pearse, and Liz Johnston. The $250 cash prize was once again donated to Keep Alliance Beautiful.
The 7th Street Dancers danced in front of Bank of the West on Thursday evening.
On Friday morning kids games were played on the Alliance High School Practice Field. The FFA Pedal Tractor Pull began along the 200 block of Box Butte for kids 10 and under.
The Koozer family were the lucky ones to find and turn in the 2019 Heritage Days Symbol. The wooden Ruby Slippers were found on Friday along the pathway near the track. They had purchased a Heritage Days Button so they collected $300 in Alliance Chamber Bucks.
The near 100 degree weather didn’t keep the crowds away that evening. Bands on the Bricks began in the Iron Horse District (200 block of Box Butte). Nate Whartman warmed up the stage for the feature band Camp Comfort.
Camp Comfort is a band based out of the Black Hills that is known for their highly-danceable guitar-centric jams. Their insistent grooves highlight playful lyrics and tasteful lead guitar for an energy that is equal parts bonfire jam session, reggae house party, and festival blues-rock. Their mission is to draw even the most stubborn wallflowers to the dance floor with accessible and memorable songs.
The Heritage Days Parade began at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. Despite the fog and drizzle there was a good turnout to watch.
The winners for this year’s parade were announced as:
Youth- 1st place Alliance Recreation Center and 2nd place Girl Scouts
Commercial- 1st place Box Butte General Hospital and 2nd place Highland Park
Non-Commercial- 1st place Pillars for the Park and 2nd place Northwest Community Action
Right after the parade, Daylight Donuts hosted a donut eating contest. The younger kids were given piles of donut holes and the older kids/adults ate stacks of glazed donuts. The winning men tied for first having both eaten nine donuts a piece.
The weather warmed up a bit but was still nice enough for the sidewalk sales and downtown food vendors to be busy.
First time Heritage Days food vendor Lizzy’s Lemonade has been a popular choice for many as they’ve been squeezing nearly 200 lemons a day during over the four days. Owner Elizabeth Schefcik is from Alliance and celebrated her one year anniversary owning/operating the trailer this past week. Look for Lizzy’s Lemonade at the Box Butte County Fair, August 5th thought 11th.
For Saturday’s Bands on the Bricks, Mike Pancost warmed up the stage for the local 80’s hairband tribute band Valhalla.
Sunday in the Park closes out the event with local bands taking to the stage in the park. It’s a nice relaxing way to end the busy week of Heritage Days.