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Parade theme is "Our Touch of Culture"
5 August 2005

BISMARCK (UTN) - The "Parade Of Champions," set for the second Saturday in September, will be a rolling display of pride in the many cultures in North Dakota. Organizers have announced a theme for this year's event on September 10 that continues to explore cultural understanding: "Our Touch of Culture."

      "It's certainly no secret that everyone has their own cultural roots," said Karen Paetz, chairwoman, Parade Of Champions planning committee. "To invite everyone to join in we simply recognized that. This theme should allow anyone to put their own 'touch of culture' on a parade entry."

      According to organizers, the "Parade Of Champions" is evolving from its origins as an event for American Indians attending the annual United Tribes International Powwow.

      "With this event we're continuing to explore how Bismarck-Mandan can promote cultural understanding," said Kelvin L. Hullet, President of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber. "It's a work in progress. Every step we take makes this community more inviting, attractive and livable for people here now and in the future."

      Last year The Chamber joined United Tribes Technical College to help organize one parade in Bismarck in the month of September. Thousands of people from Bismarck-Mandan and surrounding communities lined the parade route to see an entertaining and colorful display of the area's ethnic diversity, featuring participants from the powwow and entries from the former Folkfest Parade. Thousands of TV viewers around the western part of the state watched a live parade telecast by KFYR-TV, one of the main sponsors of the event

      "We've put our support behind this because we think Bismarck-Mandan has something important to show," said Dick Heidt, KFYR-TV general manager. "Events like this demonstrate the heart of a community. We're helping to share that with other communities

      KFYR-TV will again broadcast the parade live over western North Dakota's NBC television stations beginning at 10 a.m. (Central Time).

      The parade takes place on the Saturday of the United Tribes International Powwow.

      "We've said for quite a while that communities that celebrate their diversity are healthier communities," said David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president. "An event like the parade is one way of improving understanding between diverse groups. It follows along with other efforts by leaders in this community that recognize diversity as a strength a community can build on."

      The "Parade Of Champions" will proceed on the regular path of parades through Bismarck from the State Capitol down Sixth and Fifth Streets to the Kirkwood Mall parking lot.

      Highlighting the parade will be American Indian dancers and singers, tribal royalty, and horse groups from the state's Tribal Nations. Others entries will include school marching bands and musical groups, floats and other units carrying social and ethnic groups, public officials and dignitaries, and classic and antique cars and tractors. The 2004 parade, held on the anniversary of the tragic events in New York City on September 11, included units from military support groups.

      Parade entry forms are available at United Tribes Technical College and The Chamber office. Staging takes place on the State Capitol grounds. For more information contact Karen Paetz 701-255-3285 x 1426, kpaetz@uttc.edu. or Stephanie Iwaniw 701-222-4349, stephi@bismarckmandan.com.


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