RAMSAY - Despite about an hour downpour, the 4th of July festivities in Ramsay went off without a hitch on Saturday night.
The community event began with a parade on July 4 and continued into July 5 with a street dance, music by Uncle Fester and Marty's Goldenaires and fireworks.
"Our committee works hard to put on these events," said Lisa Selin, secretary of the Bessemer Township 4th of July Committee. "There are only about 6 or 7 of us at each meeting and we plan out what to do and what fundraisers to hold. Everything is based on our volunteers, fundraisers and 50/50 ticket sales. Without those, we wouldn't be able to do what we do."
The prize amounts were increased for this year's parade to $400, $300 and $200. "We were hoping to have a few more floats enter the parade because we did increase the prize money," Selin said. "We ended up with six floats (that wanted to be judged), plus the Tree of Honor float from the city of Bessemer."
Parade winners were: first place - The Jason Gustafson family from Wakefield, with a float depicting the 4th of July in the Ramsay Park, complete with the Keystone Bridge; second - Special Olympics (Barb Siira, Wakefield) which was "Honor, Courage and Loyalty in the USA: Words to Live By For If you Live by Them Today, Victory is Yours Tomorrow;" and third place - Michael and Cecilia Pisco of Ironwood, whose float honored the fallen soldier.
"The Pisco float was very humbling," Selin said. "If not for our soldiers, we wouldn't be celebrating the 4th."
Other float entries included the Gogebic Range Trail Authority, the Shriners, and an ensign Jeep from the White Pine Mine, entered by Gene Londo of Calumet.
"Of course, the parade wouldn't have been complete without fire trucks and police cars. Thanks for Gogebic County Sheriff Pete Matonich, the Michigan State Police, and area fire departments for being a part of our parade," Selin said.
A kids' parade was also held before the general parade, which featured the Klassic Kruisers Car Club and the area Color Guard. The committee honored area servicemen and women, past and present, as their parade marshals. The Bessemer junior and senior high school band also marched and performed about a 15 minute mini-concert in front of the judge's stand.
"The crowd loved it," Selin said. "We are hoping to feature BHS every year and we appreciate the time the band took to do this for us."
Tracey Schifferel, of Illinois, won the 50/50 raffle prize of $4,435. "Tracey's sister is a resident of Ramsay, Theresa Turula," Selin said. "Tracey and her family come up every year for the 4th."
Selin also praised the work of the Bessemer Township Volunteer Fire Department. "They receive the training in Green Bay that teaches them the proper way to set off the fireworks to keep themselves and the crowd safe," Selin said. "If not for the fire department members, there would be no fireworks."
The fire department also provided the beverage stand as a fundraiser for their department and the 4th of July committee had a concession stand.
"We want to thank everyone who participated in any way, shape or form," Selin said. "From the entertainment, to the fireworks crew, concession crew, 50/50 ticket sellers, set-up and clean-up crews, and anyone else involved, a huge thank you."
Up next? The circus. The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus is coming to Ramsay on Sunday, July 13. The fire department is putting this on as a fundraiser at the Ramsay ballfield.