Alaska State Sen. Peter Micciche waves to attendees during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. Micciche, who currently serves as president of the Alaska Senate, was named this year’s grand marshal. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Alaska State Sen. Peter Micciche waves to attendees during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. Micciche, who currently serves as president of the Alaska Senate, was named this year’s grand marshal. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Progress on parade

Community turns out for annual Soldotna celebration

Anybody who’s anybody was on Binkley Street on Saturday watching the 65th annual Progress Days Parade, which wound from Soldotna High School to the George A. Navarre Admin Building. While kids caught candy and families cheered on floats, attendees were treated to an appearance by Smokey Bear, a fleet of firetrucks from Central Emergency Services and a performance by Forever Dance.

Leading the pack this year was Alaska State Sen. Peter Micciche, who was named this year’s parade grand marshal, followed closely by Keith and Debbie Hamilton, who were named this year’s king and queen. Keith is the president of Alaska Christian College and Debbie is the executive director of the New Hope Counseling Center.

Multiple candidates running for office made appearances during Saturday’s parade, including gubernatorial candidate and Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, Alaska State Senate candidates Jesse Bjorkman and Tuckerman Babcock and Alaska State House candidates Ron Gillham and Justin Ruffridge.

Serving as judges this year were Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors President Jerry Herring and his wife, Kathleen, as well as chamber board members Pamela Parker, Tanya Lautaret and Greg Meyer. The parade was moderated by Merrill Sikorski and hosted by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.

The “Weenies on Parade” group took home the most awards, winning both the “Marching Group” and “Best Overall” categories. The Kaknu Kruzers Car Club took home the “Antique Automobiles/Tractors” category; Studio49 the “Business” category; Alaska C&C Horse Adventures the “Horse” category; Ron Gillham for State House the “Individual/Public Figure” category; AK Forty Nine Racing-Legends Racecar the “Motorcycle/Automobile” category; and the Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection the “Non-profit Organization” category.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

Attendees wave to Central Emergency Services fire trucks during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Attendees wave to Central Emergency Services fire trucks during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Katie Delker performs the U.S. National Anthem during the 2022 Soldotna Progress Day Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Katie Delker performs the U.S. National Anthem during the 2022 Soldotna Progress Day Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

An Alaska Division of Forestry vehicle pulls Smokey Bear during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

An Alaska Division of Forestry vehicle pulls Smokey Bear during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna Progress Days King Keith Hamilton and Queen Debbie Hamilton participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna Progress Days King Keith Hamilton and Queen Debbie Hamilton participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Performers with Forever Dance participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Performers with Forever Dance participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 Alaska State Senate candidate Tuckerman Babcock hands out candy during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 Alaska State Senate candidate Tuckerman Babcock hands out candy during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Supporters of 2022 U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka walk in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Supporters of 2022 U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka walk in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 gubernatorial candidate Charlie Pierce walks in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 gubernatorial candidate Charlie Pierce walks in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Panelists judge floats in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Panelists judge floats in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 Alaska State Senate candidate Jesse Bjorkman hands out candy during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 Alaska State Senate candidate Jesse Bjorkman hands out candy during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A supporter of 2022 Alaska State House candidate Justin Ruffridge waves during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A supporter of 2022 Alaska State House candidate Justin Ruffridge waves during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 Alaska State House candidate Justin Ruffridge hands out candy during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 Alaska State House candidate Justin Ruffridge hands out candy during the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Rep. Ron Gillham’s award-winning float participates in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Rep. Ron Gillham’s award-winning float participates in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Riders with Alaska C&C Horse Adventures participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Riders with Alaska C&C Horse Adventures participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shanon Davis (left) and Merrill Sikorski (right) moderate the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Riders with Alaska C&C Horse Adventures participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Riders with Alaska C&C Horse Adventures participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Riders with Alaska C&C Horse Adventures participate in the 65th annual Soldotna Progress Days Parade on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

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