31st Bear Paw Parade delivers on paradise theme
With grass skirts tied at the waist, coconut bras clasped over t-shirts and inflatable palm tree waved in the wind, all to the cheers of the crowd. It was the annual Bear Paw Festival Parade, this year’s theme was “Bear Paw in Paradise.”
More than half of the entries embraced a tropical island theme including music, such as Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s familiar rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and steel drum melodies, piped through vehicle speakers.
The weather, warm and partially cloudy, mirrored the spirit of the parade as vehicles, dogs, horses, dancers and cyclists made their way up the parade route.
The hour-long parade took over Eagle River on Saturday morning starting on Old Glenn Highway at Chief Alex Park and travelling north to Business Blvd. Loop.
The parade grand marshal was Curtis McQueen, chief executive officer for Eklutna, Inc. and a member of the Chugiak Eagle River Chamber of Commerce Executive Board.
Winners in the commercial category were: Anchorage Women’s Clinic. Matanuska Valley FCU, and Partners Real Estate. In the non-profit category were: Elks, Mac Center and First Baptist Church.
The youth category winners were: Eagle River High School Robotics, Behavior Matters and Dance Dynamics. The marching category winners were: Okamoto School of Karate, Eagle River Orthodontics and AK Military Youth Academy.
Winners in the Automotive category were: Chepos, Anchorage Corvette Association and Odd Man Rush. Specialty category winners included: Rodeo, Ken Anderson/Front Row Band and AK Celtic Pipes and Drums.
Judge’s Choice was Odd Man Rush. Best theme was Bella Luca and the grand prize went to Chepos, with a float that combined the paradise theme with a Latin flare.