The Walhalla Independence Day Celebration is not going to let the fact that the Fourth of July falls in the middle of the week stop them from having their 5th annual celebration. Celebrating America’s independence will be a four day event according to organizer and Walhalla Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joy Zaharia.
By Melissa Anderson
The events kickoff with some sand and bean bags. Over the course of the day on July 4, there will be sand volleyball and cornhole tournaments held at Riverside Park in Walhalla sponsored by the Walhalla Park Board with registration starting at noon. Cost per team for sand volleyball is $60 with the teams needing to be composed of three guys and three gals. The cornhole tournament is $20 per team and no restrictions for team members.
Friday’s events will be all about the Brick Mine Hillclimb. The dirt bikes will take on the challenging hill starting at 9 a.m. on July 5. Saturday gets off to a flying start with the 5k Run/Walk sponsored by Choice Bank. Things don’t slow down as the Pembina Hills Show and Shine opens registration at 9 a.m., and a parade for everyone to enjoy will start at 10:30 a.m.
Throughout the day, attendees are invited to explore what Walhalla has to offer. Local vendors will be set up at Riverside Park, and several stores will be open as well allowing shoppers to see what they have been missing in Walhalla. No event can be successful if there isn’t food to keep the “hangrys” away. Nacho Bizness will be set up to provide food and drinks during the volleyball and cornhole tournament on the 4th. They will be at Riverside Park for the Show & Shine, also, along with Bourbon BBQ .
A tradition among rural areas is the deep appreciation and celebration of Independence Day. It takes a dreamer filled with dedication to make small celebrations big and big celebrations last. Aaron and Joy Zaharia will celebrate not only the 4th of July this year. They will also celebrate the 5th year the celebration they brought to their community, the Pembina Hills Show and Shine, will take place which is on Saturday, July 6 starting at 11 a.m.
“We cannot believe how it’s taken off. We’re excited to be able to put this together for the community and especially excited to see new people attending each year,” the Zaharias said.
Over the years the show has indeed grown along with the Walhalla 4th of July Celebration. This year promises to be no different. With over 60 cars entered the last few years, the number of entries has doubled since that first year in 2014.
“We’ve been around that 70 entry mark each year, but with the heat last year, it made it a bit miserable,” the Zaharias said.
With so many cars, the Pembina Hills Show and Shine rivals the shows typically only seen in the larger cities of North Dakota. The entries offer a great variety for car enthusiasts to view with the most popular eras of entries for cars being 1975 & older, which is the same for the truck 1975 & older category.
“They are probably our most popular divisions. They’re generally pretty neck-in-neck as far as entries are concerned,” the Zaharias shared.
Those looking to enter only need $20 to enter one vehicle. If the entrant happens to have more than one to choose from, they are welcome to bring as many as they would like for only $5 for each additional entry. These rates only apply to those who register and have paid prior to June 29, 2019.
Those looking to register the day of the show will have an entry fee of $25 for the first vehicle and $10 for each additional entry. As far as perks, there will be commemorative glasses offered for sale to the participants which will feature the People’s Choice Award Winner from 2018 with a drink ticket.
“There will be a limit of 50 of these glasses so it’ll be first come, first serve. If they are not all purchased by participants, we’ll open them up to the public,” Zaharia said.
There will be some changes to the set-up of the Pembina Hills Show and Shine this year. Main Street of Walhalla offered the room for many vehicles of all different kinds from the works in progress and motorcycles to the semi and tractor. But the weather in North Dakota is not always amicable and with sweltering heat making both entrants and attendees miserable last year, a new location has been secured.
“We’re finally able to hold the Show & Shine down in Riverside Park, so we’re hoping with the shade, more people will attend and enter,” the Zaharias said. “This has been the biggest request since we started so we’re extremely excited that we’re finally able to make this happen.”
With the move to Riverside Park in Walhalla, there has been a need to cut back on the number of classes this year and go back to Pembina Hills Show and Shine roots.
“We have offered semi and tractor divisions in the past, however, since we’re moving from Main Street down to Riverside Park, we’re eliminating those two divisions since we don’t want to damage the grass,” Zaharia said.
This year, there will be five classes: Car 1975 & older, Car 1976 & newer, Truck 1975 & older, Truck 1976 & newer, and Motorcycles. Truck category includes: Pickups, SUVs, Jeeps, Suburbans, Panel Trucks, etc. Works in Progress will also be allowed for each category.
At the end of the show on July 6, the awards will be given out to entrants, and these are awards worth winning. Large trophies will be awarded in a variety of categories. Judges’ choice will be awarded in each of five categories. A “People’s Choice Award” will be awarded to the top vehicle in the show and will be determined by the popular vote of people attending the show. A “Kid’s Choice Award” will be awarded to the top vehicle in the show as determined by the popular vote of children 17 and under.
“In addition, we will have Scott Gerszewski of Minto performing on the stage. He is an Elvis impersonator. It even sounds like he’s bring an motorcycle once owned by Elvis to enter in the show,” Zaharia shared.
The afternoon of July 6 is filled with fun things for the whole family as duck races take place at 1 p.m. followed by the kids pedal pull competitions at 2 p.m. Newly added this year are the burnouts and they will take place at 4:30 p.m. behind Jackson’s Bar. To close out the day of fun, a street dance will be held starting at 9 p.m. BoomTown, a cover band based in Fargo that’s self described as “the variety cover band that rocks them all,” is being sponsored by local bars. This dynamic band composed of experienced musicians “plays all genres of dance music from the 60s and 70s, 80’s and 90’s, up through the hits of today, ensuring that guests of all ages will want to keep dancing into the night”.