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119 years and going: Afton gears up for Fourth of July Parade

The Afton Fourth of July Parade begins at noon, July 4. File photo

Afton's rocky road isn't stopping the city from its annual Independence Day celebration.

In its 119th year, organizers are gearing up for the city's Fourth of July Parade. The event sees thousands flock to Afton's Old Village on America's birthday.

Selma's Ice Cream Parlour owners Becky and Paul Nickerson will be leading the parade as its grand marshals.

Organizers selected the Nickersons because of their work and support in the community.

"We're really grateful," Becky Nickerson said, adding that it will be her and her husband's first time marshaling any kind of parade.

Selma's will also be holding a bicycle painting event the day before the parade. The decorations are provided and kids can enter the parade together.

Thrill seekers will also be in luck after parade organizers unveiled the Afton "Love Float," a rolling stage of matrimony.

Couples interested in tying the knot or renewing their vows can either sign up or hop on the Love Float as it makes its way down St. Croix Trail.

JP Armstrong, a local minister and brainchild behind the concept, said he's also crafted an eight-foot-tall wedding cake to sit on the float.

Organizers also plan to hold a reception at Town Square Park that will include a champagne toast to newlyweds, music and wedding cake.

The parade will feature entertainment by River City Rhythm drumline and stilt walkers Chicks On Sticks.

The parade will also include police and fire trucks, St. Paul Winter Carnival royalty, bands, music, kids groups and more.

Downtown construction will not impact the parade route, organizers said. Roads going in and out of the Old Village will close at 11:45 a.m. until the parade is over.

The city allows parking on side streets, and visitors can also take a shuttle from the Lakeland Plaza to Afton between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The parade begins at noon.

More information about the parade is available at www.aftonparade.com.

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