You might say Klub Bub manager Lauren Schemehorn is a bit bubbly about this year’s Independence Day parade entry. Klub Bub, after two years taking third, took first place for having the float that best fit the overall parade theme.
“History in Progress” celebrated the 175th Anniversary of the Milton House, Milton Academy, and Blacksmith Shop (on the Milton House grounds). Second place for theme went to Rockie’s Hometown Pizza and Subs and third place went to Milton House. Overall, first place went to Rockie’s, which earned first place for theme in 2018 and second in 2017.
Parade organizer Derek Henze estimates this year’s parade had about 100 entries.
He as well as City of Milton Police Chief Scott Marquardt, who drove a squad car in the parade, thought the crowd was larger than past years.
The parade began heading down Madison Avenue at 1 p.m. and continued as the rain came down at about 2:15 p.m.
“The last units were already on the parade route (near Kwik Trip) before it started raining,” Henze said.
Members of SWEPT, a nonprofit organization that provides support services to police, fire, EMS, emergency management and other agencies in Rock County; and Milton Masonic Lodge 161 volunteered to help with the parade. Evonik sponsored the event.
Float judges included Mayor Anissa Welch, Evonik and Leeann Harris.
More than winning
Schemehorn, who was working on parade floats even before working at Klub Bub, said she declared last year Klub Bub would place first.
That’s how it started.
“As it progressed,” she said, “it became so much more than that.”
It became about more than winning, she said, and about more than Klub Bub, 46 Merchant Row, owned by Chas Talley.
When Schemehorn was talking about this year’s float, Elmer Ahrens, a patron, said he had flags that could be used on the float.
“Maybe you should salute the troops.” That’s how the conversation started and how it continued. Schemehorn asked for photos and patrons responded. Altogether there were more than 60 photos with names and dates of service. Most had connections to Milton.
The night before the parade Schemehorn was finishing up the photo boards. Patrons came to see what she was working on. They saw their grandfather, their uncle and others.
“Everybody that was here kind of made a connection to it,” she said.
She said it was cool to hear the stories of both those who wanted to be included and those who did not and why they did not.
“Their reasons hit my heart, too,” she said. “We all kind of learned a lot. And I’m really, really glad that we did that.”
Through the float and being in the parade, they honored generations of family members and community members. Children, too, rode and walked in the parade.
“We are a bar, but this is still a family business and Fourth of July is about being with your family,” Schemehorn said.
Both of her grandfathers’ photos were on the float and three of her four grandchildren among other family members participated in the parade.
When asked if Klub Bub would participate next year, Schemehorn replied, “Oh ya, you betcha.”