GOWRIE - One of Iowa's longest standing Independence Day Celebrations continued this year as Gowrie observed its 139th annual Fourth of July celebration Wednesday.
People gathered Wednesday morning along the city's main streets to take in the parade, which always draws in thousands for the festivities.
The 90-minute parade featured approximately 100 entries from local businesses, family reunions, local politicians, emergency response vehicles and farm equipment throwing everything from candy, to popcorn, porkburgers and popsickles to the waiting crowd with an occasional spray of water from a firetruck to help beat the humid 95 degree temperatures.
The American Legion Post 431 colorguard, from left, David Rolfes, Forrest Shady, Dan Rurup, Rich Tucker and Jim Peterson lead off the Independence Day parade as is proceeds down Market Street in Gowrie Wednesday morning.
Following the parade, hundreds of hungry parade-goers gathered at the Gowrie United Methodist Church for the annual chicken dinner. By noon each of the 250 tickets to the meal were sold out as diners waited in the sanctuary to be seated for fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked beans, coleslaw and homemade pies. To go boxes were also sold for those who didn't get a ticket. It takes about 950 pieces of chicken to feed the crowd.
"We sell out quickly," said David Tjepkes, who was working at the door. "We're set up for 275 dine in and about 300 box dinners."
The church dinner has been a July 4 tradition for more years than have been kept track of.
"Probably almost since the inception of the church," said Tjepkes.
Across town, those looking for a way to cool off and a shady tree could go to Laurel Park for a car show or to take in the firemen's water fights, which have been a growing attraction over the past few years.
A group of volunteer firefighters from Breda took top honors in the water fights this year, getting in practice for their own upcoming competition.
"We just formed a team about a year ago," said Breda fireman Bob Anderson. "We get around to as many of them as we can. It's fun."
Even in full gear, the water fight was a good way to stay cool.
"It feels nice today," said Anderson. "We just take the liners out of the jackets."
At the car show, Bob Friesner, of Fort Dodge, set up a tent for shade as he relaxed with friends and family while people stopped by to admire his bright red 1957 Chevrolet BelAire convertible.
"We came down just for this show," Friesner said. "We take the car around to quite a few shows."