By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN More than 100 floats will be entertaining spectators at Minnesota’s oldest and largest Fourth of July Parade in Delano this year.
Beginning at Delano High School and traveling 1.5 miles through the heart of the city will be floats, clowns, horses, bands, and much more.
Who is it that works to schedule the line-up, and ensures the parade is a successful, as well as safe event?
The answer to this question would include many names, as there are many faces behind the scenes one of them is Curt Nelson.
Nelson worked for the State Bank of Delano for more than 12 years, and although never a Delano resident, he became very involved within the community.
“I was a chamber member for several years, a chamber board member, and participated in many bank activities, as well as local charity events,” he said.
“When I started working at the State Bank of Delano, I became a Lions member, and they are responsible for organizing the parade. I still remain a Lions member in Delano.”
Over the years, Nelson has been responsible for securing parade grand marshals such as KQRS radio host Terri Traen, athlete Brock Lesnar, Minnesota govenors Jesse Ventura and Tim Pawlenty, KSTP’s Jason Davis, and, in 2009, WCCO Radio’s Mike Lynch.
Trying to accommodate requests for parade line-up position, and finding good entertainment tend to be a challenge for Nelson.
“Bands are the most popular, and we would have more bands in the parade,” he said. “But the Fourth being the holiday that it is, it is usually a tough date to get bands.”
He said there haven’t been any major safety issues in the past, but organizers are always concerned with the weather and parents supervising their children at all times.
Changes have been few during his involvement with the event, and he still enjoys what he does.
“The most rewarding,” he said, “is having the parade event conclude as planned, no safety issues, and getting good feedback from spectators who enjoyed the parade.”
Nelson works as a commercial lender for First Minnesota Bank at its Monticello Branch.
He lives in Shorewood with his wife, Debra, and the couple has two college-aged daughters, Ericka and Stephany.
When he gets an opportunity to be away from work and his community responsibilities allow it, outdoor activities such as fishing, pheasant hunting, and golfing are things that you can find Nelson doing.
There are meetings to attend for the Lions and the Fourth of July Committee, as well as many hours spent planning the parade, but he enjoys it.
“We have seen a decrease in businesses participating this year,” he said, “as well as a decrease in donations.”
As is done each year, Nelson and many dedicated volunteers strive to make the parade as entertaining as possible from start to finish.
Parade spectators will be entertained by the University of Minnesota Marching Band for the fourth year, and new this year will be a 12-member Dixie Land band.