As the hours slipped by Sunday afternoon, local boosters worked feverishly to put the final touches on floats for the 2016 Fourth of July Parade, sponsored by the Perry-Area Chamber of Commerce.
Among the entries is a float sponsored by Let’s Connect, the fundraising committee working to collect local donations toward construction of the connector trail between Perry and Woodward linking the Raccoon River Valley Trail with the High Trestle Trail.
“We’ve got a ways to go,” said Cheri Scheib of Perry, one of the Let’s Connect volunteers. “That goes for the fundraising and also for this float.”
The Let’s Connect committee might still be a good ways away from reaching the total construction cost for the connector trail, estimated at $5 million, but they have made rapid progress recently toward building the first leg of the trail from Perry, with about $700,000 already raised or pledged.
Construction of the connector trail could begin as early as next summer, according to Mike Wallace, executive director of the Dallas County Conservation Board, which is spearheading the project. The trail will make a crucial link in the Central Iowa Trail Network.
Scheib said the Let’s Connect float will show several bicyclists — perhaps several fat-free Iron Women of Perry — pedaling in place with the help of trainer stands and moving through a scenic portion of the connector trail along Beaver Creek. Signs on the sides of the float will bear slogans such as “Make It Happen” and “Get in Gear,” encouraging local residents to support the connector-trail project.
The Perry-Area Chamber of Commerce is another entrant in the Fourth of July float lineup. The theme of the float was chosen, according to Chamber board member Dave Wright, in order to help promote the renewal of the tradition of the Perry High School Homecoming Parade.
After a lapse of several years, the PHS Homecoming Parade for 2016 will return Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m. The Chamber was instrumental in working with the administration of the Perry Community School District to bring back this popular community event.
“We were all set to use one of DMACC’s shop bays to build the float,” Wright said, but it turns out their doors are 9 feet wide, and out hay rack in 10 feet wide. We appreciate DMACC’s generous offer, but we had to find another spot.”
Longtime Perry booster and realtor Rich Saemisch stepped up and offered the use of his shop at 18th and Warford streets as a handy float-construction spot, a location nearer the start of Monday’s parade, which begins at 10 a.m. at the East Perry Plaza.