Progress Days is about the heart of the people

Progress Days is about the heart of the people

Progress Days has always been about fun and showcasing the heart of a small Alaskan community. In 1950 the population of Soldotna was 25 just a decade later in 1960 it had grown to 232. With a lot of hard work great progress had been made in Soldotna, which was a just cause for a parade. As we look forward to Saturday’s parade the population of Soldotna is nearly 4,400, not including the 50,000 some visitors that are estimated to join the community for fun, festivities and, oh yeah, fishing. The first parade route was from the “Y” of the Sterling Highway to the Kenai River Bridge, closing traffic in both directions. Later the route was changed to the Spur Hwy from mid-town to the “Y” and for many years the route has been from Soldotna High School down Marydale to Binkley and ending at the Peninsula Center Mall. One sourdough recalled one early parade when everyone tuned their radio to the only local station KSRM that played marching band music during the whole parade. Past parades have featured marching bands from Ft. Rich but this year it will be the local youth marching with the SoHi drum corp and other dancers, gymnasts and cheerleaders performing from local studios during the parade.

The Progress Days King & Queen use to be a tourist chosen by the SPD and given the option of riding in the parade as King & Queen or going to jail. Dispatch sources reported that most chose to ride in the parade. This year’s King & Queen will be chosen by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, but will not be announced until they pass the grandstand which will be located in front of the Soldotna Library on Binkley Street this year.

Joan Odem remembers twirling her baton in the 1957 parade and has a dated photo to prove it so we go with that as the date of the first Progress Days Parade. The kick-off for Progress Days 2016 will be Thursday, July 21st with the first ever “Market Daze” from 1:00pm – 11:00pm at The Market, artisan and food shops just before the Soldotna Bridge across from Hooligan’s. Under the gazebo there’ll be live music by Blackwater Railroad Co. and Robb Justice along with fun kid activities and a “Sip & Paint” at 2:00pm and 5:00pm. Sip & Paint is an activity for ladies who want to learn to paint while sipping an adult beverage, according Suzanna of Mt. Mama’s.

The Progress Days weekend continues with Saw Fest at Stanley Chrysler commencing Friday through Sunday where you’ll see renowned wood carvers create masterpieces while you watch. Then at 2:00pm following the parade on Saturday there’ll be an eagle release and the thrills and spills of the Progress Days Rodeo commences Saturday at 3:00pm at the Soldotna Rodeo grounds. Also going on Saturday at Soldotna Creek Park will be the Alaska State Championship Dutch Oven competition with samples available free to the public following the judging. The winner will qualify to compete in the International Dutch Oven competition this fall in Utah. The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce welcomes everyone to enjoy the “heart” and the “art” of Alaska’s Playground.

Progress Days is about the heart of the people
Progress Days is about the heart of the people
Progress Days is about the heart of the people
Progress Days is about the heart of the people
Progress Days is about the heart of the people
Progress Days is about the heart of the people
Progress Days is about the heart of the people

More in News

Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchorage, Alaska, looks at an oversized booklet explaining election changes in the state on Jan. 21, 2022. Alaska elections will be held for the first time this year under a voter-backed system that scraps party primaries and sends the top four vote-getters regardless of party to the general election, where ranked choice voting will be used to determine a winner. No other state conducts its elections with that same combination. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
How Alaska’s new ranked choice election system works

The Alaska Supreme Court last week upheld the system, narrowly approved by voters in 2020.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to a joint meeting of the Alaska State Legislature at the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, for his fourth State of the State address of his administration. Dunleavy painted a positive picture for the state despite the challenges Alaska has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Gov points ‘North to the Future’

Dunleavy paints optimistic picture in State of the State address

A COVID-19 test administrator discusses the testing process with a patient during the pop-up rapid testing clinic at Homer Public Health Center on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Free rapid COVID-19 testing available in Homer through Friday

A drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic will be held at Homer Public Health Center this week.

In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Montgomery, Ala. Palin is on the verge of making new headlines in a legal battle with The New York Times. A defamation lawsuit against the Times, brought by the brash former Alaska governor in 2017, is set to go to trial starting Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 in federal court in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
Palin COVID-19 tests delay libel trial against NY Times

Palin claims the Times damaged her reputation with an opinion piece penned by its editorial board

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 at all-time high statewide

The state reported 5,759 new cases sequenced from Jan. 21-23

Volunteers serve food during Project Homeless Connect on Jan. 25, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file)
Project Homeless Connect to provide services, support on Wednesday

The event will be held at the Soldotna Sports Complex on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Schools aim for business as usual as cases reach new highs

On Monday, there were 14 staff members and 69 students self-isolating with the virus

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Triumvirate construction on hold as theater seeks additional funding

The new theater is projected to cost around $4.7 million.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
KPBSD schools to start 2 hours late Tuesday

Due to weather, all but 4 schools will be delayed

Most Read