The Celebration Must Go On in Le Mars, Iowa

(LE MARS, IA) The show must go on. That's how you might describe the spirit of this year's 4th of July celebration in Le Mars, Iowa.

The death of a long-time parade organizer put that event in limbo a few months ago. But a small group of volunteers stepped up so hundreds of people could honor America in the long-time tradition.

"John Adams said, have Bonfires, picnics, fireworks, celebrate our independence 237 years ago," says Glada Koerselman, and organizer for the event.

And that tradition has been a staple in the city of le Mars for years - a dual celebration of Ice Cream and Patriotism. But a few years back, the city made some changes.

"They decided to put Ice Cream Days on Fathers day weekend and then have the legion take over the fourth of July. And so the Legion did take over the Fourth of July parade in 2005 and it was a great parade," says Judy Bowman, an organizer for the event.

But this year the celebration was almost a miss. With the passing of a long-standing legion member the parade was canceled.

"We quickly overnight formed the friends of the fourth to try and save the 4th of July in le Mars," says Bowman.

And it worked. Friends of the fourth only expected about 100 people but more than 250 showed up, and even more attended the parade.

"I am thankful for my country and I say God bless America and I'm thankful for the all the roots and the good people that I've grown up with here in America and in Iowa, and Plymouth County," says David Bogenrief, who was watching the parade.

"I'm proud to be an American. I'm proud of our troops and for the veterans that serve our country," says Larry Eppling, who was also watching the parade.

"We're all about preserving things and so we're trying to preserve the heritage of this country, not just for some of us older people but for the children. We've got to save this for the kids so they don't take this freedom for granted," says Bowman.

In order to keep this tradition alive, Friends of the Fourth need volunteers for next year. If you're interested in getting involved you can e-mail Jude Bowman at