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Berthold hosts full day of old-fashioned 4th of July fun

As the sun rose on Berthold Thursday morning, it seemed like just another day in the small, Ward County community.

7/09/19 (Tue)

As the sun rose on Berthold Thursday morning, it seemed like just another day in the small, Ward County community.

At 9:30 a.m., however, the town suddenly came alive with activity; convoys of vehicles headed to the local school and elderly folks set up lawn chairs along Main Street.

It was the beginning of what would be a memorable Independence Day party that began the night before with a dance and ended Thursday night with fireworks.

Sarah Keen, her daughter Morgan and friend Cheyenne Degenstein were the first people in the school parking lot where parade entries were expected to begin lining up.

The girls, part of the Sunshiners 4-H club from Carpio and Donnybrook, wanted to get there early so they could start decorating their float with a patriotic theme to go along with the big clover leaf 4-H symbol on the side.

Sarah Keen said there are 25 kids in the club and some of the other Sunshiners joined the early risers, while others hopped on the wagon when the parade started.

Just a half hour later, those elderly folks disappeared into the crowd because both sides of the street were lined with people in anticipation of the annual parade that always has a few surprises.

It was a perfect day for a parade. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the temperature at 10:30, at the start of the parade was 78 degrees with a light breeze coming in from the northwest.

As the American Legion color guard began marching south on Main Street, Berthold Mayor Steve Ibach officially kicked off the festivities.

“Welcome everybody,” Ibach said. “It’s good to see families together here to celebrate the 4th of July.”

Immediately behind the American Legion color guard was an up-armored Humvee from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base.

And following the Air Force was a young girl named Ava Cordell who, in a sense, fell into a mini, military convoy with her golf cart that was completely transformed into an Army tank.

Ava would later be declared the winner in the parade’s golf cart category with her clever patriotic idea.

A long line of fire trucks from Berthold, Carpio and Burlington followed in the 51 entry procession and shortly thereafter was Chuck Schmidt in a dragster complete with roll bars and slick, rear tires. Schmidt was representing Myers Drag Racing from the Magic City Speedway in Minot.

Numerous vintage vehicles were included in the fanfare starting with Mark Birdsall in his 1949 Chevrolet pickup truck that has been restored to its original condition.

Gordon Lokken of Burlington brought his own mini convoy with four vintage cars, three of them from the Roaring ‘20s.

Lokken led the group driving a spit-and-polished 1930, Ford Model A. Two, 1928 Model A’s followed with a 1927 REO Town Car completing the spectacle.

As the parade entries came by a second time, children continued to scurry into the street for candy that was tossed toward them.

Numerous other floats were notable including the Berthold FFA chapter, which won the best float, the Berthold High School Class of 1969 and four youngsters riding bicycles decorated with glittery stars and stripes.

“The bikes, the bikes,” Ibach said from the announcer’s stand. “The judges fought over this one but it ended in a four-way tie so all four entries won.”

Immediately following the parade, kiddy races took place on Main Street with spectators laughing and encouraging the youngsters to go faster.

After that, Ibach and city council member Alecia Neubauer began passing eggs out to people in the crowd for the always popular egg toss.

The way it works is people young and old line up on either side of Main Street, approximately 6-10 feet apart. They toss their egg to a partner and each time, the distance becomes a couple of feet longer.

All of a sudden, cracked eggs began littering the street and the field grew ever smaller. As that happened, Ibach ushered the finalists to face north and south to increase the distance.

In the end, it was law enforcement, including Berthold Police Chief Al Schmidt, that caught their egg from the farthest distance, about 50 feet with the reward being what else, scrambled eggs.

But wait, there’s more. Planners of the Independence Day celebration saved the best for last.

Volunteers set up a long table in the middle of Main Street and Neubauer produced 30, chocolate pies, complete with whipped cream, for  an old-fashioned pie-eating contest.

As you might imagine, far more than 30 wanted to get involved, but as the beginning was getting close, two additional entrants took their places at the table, hands behind their backs as Neubauer’s team placed pies in front of them.

When Ibach said “Go,” the fun began. The young kids and teenagers began gobbling up the dessert as fast as they could amid cheers from their fans behind them.

Some of the kids had to take short breathers and as their heads popped up, their faces were decorated in chocolate.

Imagine using nothing more than your mouth and tongue to eat an entire pie? The entrants weren’t even allowed to use their hands to hold the pie tin in place.

But, they continued until 13-year-old Cooper Bredahl was declared the winner.

Ibach, resembling a TV reporter with his microphone, asked Bredahl, “How does it feel to be the winner?”

Bredahl replied, “Not very good.”

So the moral of the story is, it’s probably the only time that kids didn’t enjoy a treat, especially Bredahl, who may never eat chocolate again.

Ward County’s fifth-largest city continued to bustle the rest of the day.

Trinity Health’s life support helicopter landed on the baseball field, drawing a large crowd to examine the unique “chopper.”

A crowd of old friends gathered at the Sidelines Bar and Backdraft Cafe and BBQ next door was filled to capacity for the better part of three hours.

Other volunteers were busy getting the club house ready because it was a perfect afternoon for a golf outing... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!