Chugiak’s annual Independence Day parade set for 2 p.m. on July 4

Monday, July 2, 2018 - 08:12
  • Star file photo/Matt Tunseth

Got big plans for the Fourth? Why not start your day at the Chugiak Fourth of July Parade?

The parade starts at Latimer Fire Station 31 on the Old Glenn Highway, passes through Chugiak proper and ends at the Chugiak Senior Center. Parking is available on the original Chugiak Elementary School grounds. The parade route is closed to traffic at 1 p.m., so plan to get in early. The Parade starts at 2 p.m.

The Chugiak Benefit Association and the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society will have booths on the school grounds, where they will offer refreshments in exchange for donations. This year is the 71st anniversary of Chugiak. The community of Chugiak was formed on April 7, 1947 when six of the nine families living in the area at the time met at Park‘s Coffee Shop. At that meeting, and subsequent weekly meetings, they set community boundaries (from Eagle River to Peter’s Creek and from Knik Arm to the Chugach Mounains), chose a name for the community (Chugiak), and adopted by-laws for the organization, which they named Chugiak Community Council. It was the Chugiak Community Council that petitioned for a post office (goal achieved 1947), electricity for the area (goal achieved 1950) and a school for the area (goal achieved 1951).

The Chugiak Benefit Association is a nonprofit organization formed for the purpose of developing and promoting civic, recreational and social activities of the Chugiak, Eagle River, Birchwood. Peters Creek and Eklutna areas. Previously, a group of local citizens organized the first Chugiak Spring Carnival in 1954 on the land which is now occupied by the Eagle River Elementary School. This group of citizens became CBA the following year as an organization that would operate mainly to raise funds for community needs. In 1955 the carnival was moved to the location where the present Chugiak Elementary School exists. The carnival continued at that location for several years. Eventually, CBA exchanged that land for the land on which the original Chugiak Elementary school stands.

The Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society was formed in 1993 by a handful of residents who realized they were losing valuable historical resources as the older population in the community passed on. A board of eleven volunteers meets once a month. Work sessions to archive historical items are held each Friday morning in the society’s office in the original school building. Volunteers are welcome.

Phyllis Smith is president of the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society.

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