A participant in Heritage Place’s entry in the Progress Days parade hands a piece of candy to a young spectator as the group makes its way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A participant in Heritage Place’s entry in the Progress Days parade hands a piece of candy to a young spectator as the group makes its way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Marking progress with familiar festivities

Although the Progress Days parade was peppered with political campaign floats as it wound its way through Soldotna, most of the focus was on fun and community.

Most of the candidates for the state races relevant to the central Kenai Peninsula took the opportunity for face-time with Soldotna-area residents during the 61st annual Progress Days parade Saturday. Gubernatorial candidates Bill Walker, Mike Dunleavy and Mead Treadwell, District O senatorial candidates Peter Micciche and Ron Gillham, District 29 House candidate Wayne Ogle and District 30 candidate Gary Knopp all marched down Marydale Avenue toward the Kenai Peninsula Borough administration building, where the judges’ table stood. The two opposing campaigns for and against Ballot Measure 1 — known as the Stand for Salmon initiative — also marched in the parade, with supporters carrying a massive sockeye salmon replica down the street.

But the businesses, schools and organizations outnumbered the politicians, distributing candy and playing music as they marched. The Forever Dance Alaska studio brought a crowd of dancers performing a number set to the theme from the Pixar movie “The Incredibles,” jumping and lunging on their way down the road. The Apostolic Assembly of Christ loaded up a full band with speakers and a mass of balloons labeled “the Joy Dispenser.” The residents of Heritage Place, Central Peninsula Hospital’s skilled nursing facility, rolled by laden with balloons and candy and tissue paper flowers.

The Progress Days parade is a hallmark of the annual festivities organized by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, which take over the city and Soldotna Creek Park for the weekend. The events began Friday night with a homesteader meet and greet at the Soldotna Historical Museum, and the market and live music began in Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday morning. The market and live music continue into Sunday, when the city of Soldotna hosts a free community barbecue.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@peninsulaclarion.com.

A volunteer in Heritage Place’s entry in the Progress Days parade hands a balloon to a young spectator on Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A volunteer in Heritage Place’s entry in the Progress Days parade hands a balloon to a young spectator on Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Volunteers for Gov. Bill Walker’s gubernatorial reelection campaign float in the Progress Days parade make their way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Volunteers for Gov. Bill Walker’s gubernatorial reelection campaign float in the Progress Days parade make their way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Gov. Bill Walker drives a tractor part of his gubernatorial reelection campaign float in the Progress Days parade down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Gov. Bill Walker drives a tractor part of his gubernatorial reelection campaign float in the Progress Days parade down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A participant in classic car club Kaknu Kruzers’ display in the Progress Days parade waves to spectators on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A participant in classic car club Kaknu Kruzers’ display in the Progress Days parade waves to spectators on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Participants in Heritage Place’s dispaly in the Progress Days parade chat as they make their way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Participants in Heritage Place’s dispaly in the Progress Days parade chat as they make their way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Volunteers in Stand for Salmon’s float in the Progress Days parade carry a large replica of a sockeye salmon down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Volunteers in Stand for Salmon’s float in the Progress Days parade carry a large replica of a sockeye salmon down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Josiah Martin of Soldotna deftly perches atop a unicycle during the Progress Days parade on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Josiah Martin of Soldotna deftly perches atop a unicycle during the Progress Days parade on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Dancers from studio Forever Dance Alaska perform a routine set to the theme of the Pixar film “The Incredibles” during the Progress Days parade on Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Dancers from studio Forever Dance Alaska perform a routine set to the theme of the Pixar film “The Incredibles” during the Progress Days parade on Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Kids flock to pet a dog with the 21st Century Realty float at the Progress Days parade on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Kids flock to pet a dog with the 21st Century Realty float at the Progress Days parade on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A young Progress Days parade volunteer distributes some candy to the parade judges on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A young Progress Days parade volunteer distributes some candy to the parade judges on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Ian Garay, 7, (left) and Stephanie Daigle, 3, (right), take stock of their candy stash collected from the Progress Days parade on Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Ian Garay, 7, (left) and Stephanie Daigle, 3, (right), take stock of their candy stash collected from the Progress Days parade on Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Participants in Soldotna High School’s float in the Progress Days parade chat as they make their way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Participants in Soldotna High School’s float in the Progress Days parade chat as they make their way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Participants in Stand for Alaska’s float in the Progress Days parade make their way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

Participants in Stand for Alaska’s float in the Progress Days parade make their way down Marydale Avenue on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A participant in Central Emergency Services’ float in the Progress Days parade waves to spectators on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

A participant in Central Emergency Services’ float in the Progress Days parade waves to spectators on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in Soldotna, Alaska. The parade kicks off the weekend-long event celebrating Soldotna’s history, with a market on Saturday and Sunday in Soldotna Creek Park and a concert Saturday night followed by a free community barbecue Sunday. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Alexis Alamillo, of Anchorage, carries a sockeye salmon caught in a dipnet from the mouth of the Kenai River on Wednesday.
Kenai River dipnetting now open 24 hours a day

The liberalization of fishing regulation was effective starting Thursday evening

A drone rises into the air while kicking up dust, departing on a test flight for the use of beyond visual line of sight drone aircraft, at Furie Operating Alaska’s central processing facility in Nikiski, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Drone test flight operates beyond visual line of sight between Nikiski and a Cook Inlet platform

The drone could perform deliveries to and from Cook Inlet platforms

A map of Lower Skilak Campground shows the areas that will be closed in July and August 2024. (Graphic provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Areas of Lower Skilak Campground to close for repair starting Monday

The East Loop will be closed — projected to be reopened at noon on Aug. 4

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on Feb. 26, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Sterling resident sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual abuse of minors

Additionally, Crane will face 15 years of supervised probation as well as sex offender registration and treatment

Shrubs grow outside of the Kenai Courthouse on Monday, July 3, 2023 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former Soldotna police officer acquitted of 2023 assault allegations

He was found not guilty following a five-day trial in late June

A parade of cars and trucks flying flags in support of former President Donald Trump proceed down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Residents caravan across central peninsula in support of Trump

The parade came a day after an attempted assassination of the former president

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

Most Read