Yakima 4th of July Festival

1301 South Fair Avenue
Yakima, WA 98901

History

In 1991, Desert Storm was raging and a feeling of patriotism filled communities throughout our nation. Acting on that spirit, Pat Berndt, then mayor of the City of Yakima, and Jim Barnhill, the publisher, at that time, of the Yakima Herald-Republic, paid a visit to a community leader they knew would act on a special request they had. “We need a real 4th of  July celebration,” they told Mel Wagner. “The people of Yakima  need a way to acknowledge their support for those fighting in Desert Storm, and they need a way to connect with others to strengthen our spirit of community.” Pat and Jim had come to the right man.

Mel called on his friend Bob Hall, and between them they asked a dozen other community leaders to step up, and the first 4th of July committee  was formed. Over the past 20 years, the vision for the event hasn’t  changed much: it needs to be free to the public and it must be a time for families and friends to come together. When asked what made that very first celebration such a huge success, Mel says the credit goes entirely  to the hundreds of volunteers, many who spent the entire day making sure  things went smoothly.

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