April 12, 2021

Stevens County Times

Your spot for community news in Stevens County, Minnesota

Celebrating independence without a celebration


It will be very different celebrating the Fourth of July this year as nearly every event has been canceled. I have attended festivities in Hancock for as long as I can remember and it will be difficult to see a quiet town on what is usually a bustling community on the Fourth.

I do remember a couple of years when Hancock did not celebrate the Fourth of July. It was in the late 70s or early 80s. I can remember this because my husband and I owned a business in town and we were on the Hancock Commercial Club which hosted the celebration back then.

In the early 70s the celebration started to go downhill with fewer and fewer people helping and attending. The Commercial Club thought that maybe if the celebration was not on a major holiday, we could get more local people to stick around. We were approached by the County Dairy Association to host Dairy Days in June and decided to try that instead.

There were Dairy cow judgings, milk drinking, the Dairy Princess Coronation, and a huge meal complete with lots of ice cream and dairy products culminating with a street dance and fireworks. It was quite low key and worked well for our smaller group of volunteers.

Like so many things, once something is gone you appreciate it more. Soon people were asking the Commercial Club to bring back the Fourth of July and with the cooperation of the Hancock Lions Club, we did just that. Eventually, the Hancock Lions Club took over the entire event and has been doing a wonderful job of it ever since.

During those years when we didn’t have the celebration in Hancock, my husband and I struggled to find something to do. One year we visited friends at a lake by Alexandria and another year we invited people over. It just wasn’t the same to not be in our own hometown, doing what you traditionally did for years and years. Even now that I live in Morris, spending the Fourth in Hancock is still a tradition.

I am hoping that we will still be able to find something fun and entertaining to do on the Fourth of July in order to celebrate our independence. It will be different, that is for sure. Just like when fair time comes, we will miss it. But, absence does make the heart grow fonder so it will really make us appreciate the events even more in the years to come.

Katie Erdman