Fourth of July celebrations not hampered by rain and cold
By Julia Lerner
Despite the rainy weather and chilly temperatures, Nomeites came in droves to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The annual celebration started at noon on Sunday with a parade that traversed down Front Street. At the front of the parade, veterans marched with flags, including the Alaska state flag, the United States flag, a Prisoner of War flag and a Veterans of Foreign Wars flag. They were quickly followed up by Nome’s volunteer fire department, floats from Sitnasuak Native Corporation, emergency responders, the AKAU Alaska Gold Resort and a long line of four wheelers.
Nome’s children excitedly lined the streets to collect candy thrown their way during the parade.
Following the parade, the City hosted a “patriotic program,” led by City Clerk and Master of Ceremonies Bryant Hammond. Hammond welcomed attendees, introduced the events and shared his thoughts on the participatory nature of democracy in Nome. He also recognized that the past year has been hard on Nomeites due to the COVID-19 pandemic and thanked them for their cooperation in those hard times.
Following Hammond’s welcome, the St. Lawrence Island Dance Group performed, showcasing traditional Siberian Yupik dances in front of City Hall.
During the celebrations, the Nome Rotary Club and the Nome Kennel Club presented awards to notable Nomeites. The Rotary Club presented the Citizen of the Year award to Caroline “Cussy” Kauer. The Nome Kennel Club presented the Golden Hammer Award for Exceptional Volunteerism to Tyler Johnson, Evan Booth and Ken Morton. The three were honored for their work renovating the Topkok Shelter Cabin, a cabin on Iditarod trail 44 miles east of Nome, close to a notorious blowhole on the trail.
Emilie Zabel performed the National Anthem and Joy Rose performed the Alaska Flag Song. Pastor Dan Ward presented the invocation, and Mayor John Handeland presented the convocation during the event.
Following performances, Mayor Handeland announced the beginning of several games and races, including bike and foot races. Hard rain came down at times, but the games went on and participants toughed out the wet conditions.
Following the games, the Nome Volunteer Fire Department treated Nomeites to an ice cream social in town.