The History of Mandan's Independence Day Parade
Mandan has celebrated Independence day with a parade almost as long as it has been a city. The parade has become an annual tradition for many families and has grown to be the largest parade in North Dakota.
On July 5th, 1882, a front page story appeared in the Daily Pioneer, a newspaper based in Mandan, Dakota Territory.
The story is as follows:
Mandan turns out “en masse” and Presents the Largest Turnout ever seen in Morton County.
The regular day's program was carried out in the order published with not a skip or break. The band formed in front of Liberty Hall and marched to the school house, at which place the citizens on foot and on horseback were soon congregated and a large enthusiastic procession was formed, which took its way down First Avenue across to Main and up Main to the grounds. The order of the procession was, President of the day, followed by the band; next citizens on foot, followed by horsemen, then came a long line of carriages filled with enthusiastic celebrators.
In the Mandan Pioneer on July 10, 1891, the front page column reads:
The Grand Parade
It was headed by Palmer's Bismarck Band. Following was Gov. Burke, the guest of the city, and city and county officials in carriages. Bismarck hose company No. 1 with 19 men, and after them Bismarck Fire company No. 1 nineteen men, Banner Hook and Ladder Co, sixteen men, Mandan Hook and Ladder company, sixteen men, …
1991Thousands of spectators stood along Mandan’s Main Street parade route on Thursday, July 4, saluting and cheering the men of the 191st Military Police Company who marched by in their camouflage uniforms. The annual parade was led by the traditional color guard and the MHS band, followed by numerous clowns and gymnasts, horses, tractors, decorated trucks, soldiers from old Fort Lincoln and floats carrying musicians and children who tossed candy or sprayed water onto the onlookers. The Mandan rodeo also had another successful run, as the grandstand was packed all three nights of the performance.
The Fourth of July was actually celebrated a week early in Mandan this year, as the annual Rodeo Days were scheduled for June 24, 25, 26. However, Mother Nature displayed some fireworks of her own on the 24th as a tremendous thunderstorm, accompanied by high winds, dumped several inches of rain in the area, resulting in the cancellation of the first night’s rodeo performance.
But as planned, the Mandan Jaycee Rodeo Parade kicked off the sixth annual Jaycees RCA-approved rodeo in fine style on Saturday afternoon, beginning from the west end of Main Street at the viaduct. Chairman of this year’s Jaycees parade committee is Daryl Krause, assisted by Howard Rudd, Jim Hellman and Dick Davidson.
Among the many features of this year’s parade was the 35-member Drum and Bugle Corps of the Bismarck American Legion, which had recently won the statewide competition in Fargo for the second straight year. Also featured were demonstrations by some of the best draft horses in the community, plus a 20-mule team pulling a covered wagon. Interspersed between more than 40 floats were four marching bands, the horses of the famed Fettig rodeo stock of Killdeer, rodeo queen contestants and clowns, along with all the area Boy and Girl Scout units. Among the dignitaries, riding with a military escort, were Mayor Walker; Irv Bates, president of the Mandan Chamber of Commerce; and Mrs. Dick Schmidt, who heads the rodeo queen committee.
The crowning of the new Mandan Rodeo Queen in its fourth annual competition, sponsored by the Mrs. Jaycees, took place during the second rodeo performance on Sunday afternoon. Linda Kautzman of Mandan was chosen from the six contenders and was crowned Miss Rodeo Mandan 1967 before a cheering crowd. Linda, a 1966 graduate of Mandan High School, is the daughter of Mrs. Maggie Kautzman and the late John Kautzman. Named Rodeo Princess was Joan Gappert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Gappert of Carson.
The Cremer Rodeo, first major circuit rodeo ever to show in North Dakota, lived up fully to the expectations of the Mandan Rodeo Association and the huge crowd of spectators which packed the bleachers and filled the 4,000-seat grandstand on the afternoon of July 4. And long before the parade’s 11 a.m. start every available inch of parking space and standing room was taken, with cars parked for blocks back from Main Street. It was a tremendous crowd along Main Street that Mandan had never seen before for any occasion.
Beautiful horses, bands, drum and bugle corps and marching units all vied for attention in the Fourth of July Parade, which began at the west end of Main Street near the viaduct. Leading the parade were the “colors” carried by mounted horsemen, followed by the MHS band and baton twirlers. The beautiful string of 40 fine horses of the Cremer outfit with the trick riders, both men and women, drew gasps of admiration from every lover of horseflesh. Riding behind them were several hundred riders from Mandan and Bismarck, along with more than 70 cowboys competing in the rodeo. Dozens of beautifully decorated floats were also seen between the junior drum and bugle corps of the Mandan VFW and the Bismarck American Legion drum and bugle corps.
“With bands playing, toy pistols, fire crackers, etc., keeping up an incessant noise, Mandan celebrated the Fourth of July in approved form. Hundreds of people from other cities were here for the celebration and were kept busy by the many amusements afforded by the program committee and the carnival shows.
“A float mounted on an automobile, representing a battleship, was a popular feature in the morning parade. A brief sports program for children was later held at the fairgrounds, followed by a picnic in a shady grove of trees.
“Highlight of the Fourth was the afternoon ballgame at the fairgrounds, featuring the Mandan boys against the Dickinson nine. About 800 people gathered in the stands and saw Mandan lose, 8 to 6. The first six innings were real baseball with no one scoring, but then the aviation meet began with many entries on both sides. While no altitude records were broken, baseballs began to soar out of sight, resulting in 14 runs over home plate in the final three innings.
“The day concluded with a grand display of fireworks. The following morning, our local physicians declared the Fourth had passed with no accidents worth mentioning.”
“On Wednesday, July 8, at 2:30 p.m. the thermometer recorded 73 degrees above zero.
“Rah for Mandan’s celebration!”
“To begin with — the 115th anniversary of the day, that is so dear to all true Americans, was a perfect one in every particular — no rain, no wind, the heat was not oppressive and the gentle showers of rain the day before made the prairie and roads entirely dust free. Bright and early, citizens were astir, making ready for the day’s events.
“The Grand Parade began at city hall with our band, followed by Governor Burke and city and county officials in carriages. Next came the Bismarck and Mandan Fire companies. The Mandan men looked especially handsome in their new uniforms, and as they passed along in formation, they elicited warm applause from spectators all along Main Street to the picnic grounds. The parade concluded with two decorated wagons containing 44 young girls dressed to represent each state of the Union. A beautiful sight, indeed!
“Upon arrival in Syndicate, Mayor Sheriff mounted the platform and introduced Gov. Burke who gave a brief history of the day, citing the reasons why all loyal and true Americans should pay homage to the anniversary of the nation’s birth. This was the governor’s first official visit to the citizens of Mandan and Morton County.
“After the applause had subsided, Gov. Burke found a convenient position from which to watch the sports of the day: first, the children’s races, then the horse races, next a shooting match between the top marksmen of the sister cities, and finally, the highlight of the day — a baseball game between Mandan and the cavalrymen from Fort Yates. The score was tied at one apiece after the first inning. However, at the end of nine innings, the score remained unchanged, so the captains agreed to call it a draw as all the men were very tired.
“The day concluded with a grand dance at the Emerson Institute; a beautiful lunch was served at midnight.”
On July Fourth, spectators standing atop the hill on Mandan’s West Main Street will view a magnificent spectacle that only appears once a year: the Mandan Independence Day Parade, which will stretch from The Strip on the east end of town back to the hill on the west end that offers the incredible overview of people, floats and animals.
The Independence Day Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on the Strip, 11 a.m. at Main Street and Memorial Highway, and 11:30 a.m. at Main Street and Collins Avenue.
Marlo Anderson, who has been involved in organizing the parade for the past 21 years, believes that the Independence Day Parade is likely the largest in North Dakota and surrounding states, which includes South Dakota, Montana and Minnesota. This year’s parade has about 175 entries, less than the record set in 1989, the state’s centennial year, when more than 200 floats and other entries were featured.
The Mandan parade is one of the granddaddies of Fourth of July parades. Mandan initiated the parade in 1881,
making it perhaps the oldest parade in the state. There was only one year that the Independence Day Parade wasn’t held in Mandan. That was 1889; the year North Dakota became a state. The parade was held in Bismarck then, but the annual rodeo was still held in Mandan.
De Mores Medora to Deadwood Stagecoach in parade, Mandan, N.D.TitleDe Mores Medora to Deadwood Stagecoach in parade, Mandan, N.D.
Date of Original1924-07-02
DescriptionSeveral men on top of a stagecoach are being pulled by horses in a parade. The street is decorated with flags. Buildings including a cafe and billiard parlor are partially visible in the background.
lGeneral SubjectCity & Town Life
Parades & processions
Subject (LCSH)Building, Brick
Organization NameMedora Stage and Forwarding Company (Medora, N.D.)
New Palace Cafe (Mandan, N.D.)
AddressMandan (N.D.) - Main Street
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
Transcription"De Mores Deadwood stage coach, used in parade to dedicate T. Roosevelt statue, July 2, 1924. Photo by John Christenson. Main street of Medora, N.D."--Handwritten on back of photograph.NotesTitle created by staff.Biography/HistoryThe Medora Stage and Forwarding Company was owned by the Marquis de Mores. It operated between Medora, N.D. and Deadwood, S.D. The company used four coaches for daily trips, which took about 36 hours. The stagecoach was at the Mandan Rodeo in 1924 to dedicate the Theodore Roosevelt statue.
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionState Historical Society of North Dakota Photograph Collection B
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota (B0643)Rights ManagementCopyright status unknown.