Anybody who’s anybody was on Binkley Street on Saturday watching the 65th annual Progress Days Parade, which wound from Soldotna High School to the George A. Navarre Admin Building. While kids caught candy and families cheered on floats, attendees were treated to an appearance by Smokey Bear, a fleet of firetrucks from Central Emergency Services and a performance by Forever Dance.
Leading the pack this year was Alaska State Sen. Peter Micciche, who was named this year’s parade grand marshal, followed closely by Keith and Debbie Hamilton, who were named this year’s king and queen. Keith is the president of Alaska Christian College and Debbie is the executive director of the New Hope Counseling Center.
Multiple candidates running for office made appearances during Saturday’s parade, including gubernatorial candidate and Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, Alaska State Senate candidates Jesse Bjorkman and Tuckerman Babcock and Alaska State House candidates Ron Gillham and Justin Ruffridge.
Serving as judges this year were Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors President Jerry Herring and his wife, Kathleen, as well as chamber board members Pamela Parker, Tanya Lautaret and Greg Meyer. The parade was moderated by Merrill Sikorski and hosted by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
The “Weenies on Parade” group took home the most awards, winning both the “Marching Group” and “Best Overall” categories. The Kaknu Kruzers Car Club took home the “Antique Automobiles/Tractors” category; Studio49 the “Business” category; Alaska C&C Horse Adventures the “Horse” category; Ron Gillham for State House the “Individual/Public Figure” category; AK Forty Nine Racing-Legends Racecar the “Motorcycle/Automobile” category; and the Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection the “Non-profit Organization” category.