July 4, 1900...a mental picture...Main Street...Parade...Riding in the first wagon was blacksmith Tony Nord, banging on his anvil; Julius Spreeman with the horn; and a drummer. Gummerson, a Civil War vet and shoemaker, and Long John, the Wolf Saloon keeper, were along for the ride. There was a horse cart race, which Hank Siebold always won because he had the fastest horse. There was a ball game in the cow pasture north of the depot (now Windmill Marina). Tony Hedstrom pitched and Tony Nord caught a 6-7 game against St. Paul Park. Then families returned to picnic in Village Park. The cold beverages tasted good on a warm night at the end of a perfect day.
July 4th, 1999...nowadays the Afton Historical Society supports Afton's biggest day on the calendar. Before the gala holiday, AHS offers its Museum as a headquarters for Lucy McAllister's Afton Schooner Band so it can practice there and use it as a gathering point for the hay-rack-riding musicians.
The Society has been selecting the parade Grand Marshals since 1986. Before that time, the Afton Parade Committee was responsible for this task. The Grand Marshal rides in a 1921 Model T Ford touring car.
The parade still goes on down Main Street at 12:00 noon; if you miss it going one way, don't worry because the parade turns around and comes back the other way. Families still picnic in Village Park and the food and beverages are still as great as they were in 1900.