State-champ Redbirds are Grand Marshal of Isanti Parade

State-champ Redbirds are Grand Marshal

The biggest parade annually in the county is the Isanti Rodeo Jubilee Days Parade, coming this Thursday, July 5, at 6:30 p.m. It draws not only a huge number of entries each year, but the streets of Isanti are lined for blocks with a myriad of fans.

The 2011 Isanti Redbirds after winning the Class C State championship in Brownton by defeating Waconia 4-3 in the title game on Labor Day. NEWS file photo by Greg Hunt

This year’s Jubilee Days Parade Grand Marshal is the Isanti Redbirds baseball team which earned its first State championship last summer when they went 6-0 in the Class C brackets to bring home the top trophy. This year, the Redbirds are off to a 17-5 start, including going 7-2 in their first year of the Metro Minny League.

“The city of Isanti has embraced the Redbirds as their amateur baseball team,” responded Isanti Manager Steve Allen about the team’s role as Grand Marshal. “The mayor and city council continue to demonstrate their support and appreciation for our team and what the team brings to the community. They were there for us in the early years for financial support, and they continue to provide us with significant in-kind support.”

Allen appreciates the cross-generation of interest that is wrapped around the Redbirds during these recent seasons.

“If you come to a game, you will see people of all ages attending or volunteering their time in some capacity or another. It might be the person cutting the grass, running the scoreboard, selling popcorn or shagging foul balls. Everyone pitches in!” he said.

Allen continued, “The Redbirds know that this is a relationship that needs to work both ways. The Redbird players put in a significant amount of time working on the field. The players give back to the city and community, as well. They continually raise money for up-grading and repairing the field, they put on youth coaching clinics, and they participate each year in the fabulous Outhouse Races. If you come to a game when the CICB Little League players are introduced prior to the game with the Redbird players, you wouldn’t know who enjoys the moment more—the Little League players, the Redbird players or the parents.

“The ‘Birds are sincerely appreciative of the support that is given to them by the mayor, the city council and the community!”


More Jubilee Parade features

Brian Strike has been the tireless chairman of the Isanti Rodeo Jubilee Days Parade for many summers now. He has organized a strong lineup for the 2012 gathering which once again opens with a flyover from the T-6 Thunder air crew, sponsored by Strike Funeral Homes.

Chuck Datko and Bruce Olson have been leading the T-6 Thunder group for 15 to 20 years. The close-knit team has members hailing from Aberdeen, S.D. to the metro area to Spooner, Wis. Most of the pilots flew in the Vietnam War era, with a recently-retired T-6 Thunder member being a Korean War vet.

“We fly for approximately 60 to 70 events a year– from parades to military funerals to air shows. Generally, we fly in Minnesota, eastern South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin,” explained Datko. “The T-6 began as an advanced trainer airplane during World War II, then it served in Korea and Vietnam. A total of 22

diffferent countries used the T-6 in their main Air Force. My T-6 put in 30 years in the Spanish Air Force.”

Datko added that of the 22,000 T-6s manufactured, approximately 200 remain in service.

“We’re fortunate to have 11 in our area that are still flying,” he said.

Strike is excited that the St. Paul Winter Carnival is bringing an entourage of multi-float entrants, including one with the Klondike Kates aboard. Many area organizations, clubs and businesses will be represented in the Jubilee Days Parade. And since it’s a big election year, there will be a plethora of politicians working the crowd.

“We have seven high school bands signed up for the parade, along with the Kracker Jacks drumline, the Steel Drum Band and Chanters singing group,” said Strike last week. “The Zuhrah flyers helicopter cars are also coming back.”

Strike reminds parade attenders to come hungry since the annual Isanti Chamber Pig & Turkey Roast begins serving at 3 p.m. There will also be several food vendors along the route.

Folks milling around pre-parade can enjoy the bluegrass stylings of the Mystery Mountain Boys near the 1st Ave. & Main St. intersection. Auctioneer Lyle Bostrom will be announcing the parade from that corner, too.

So make it a date for Isanti on July 5 for the Rodeo Jubilee Days Parade, and plan on sticking around beautiful Isanti for the rest of the festival the remainder of the weekend.