It was 1979 and it was an election year for the Richfield City Council. Howard Bunce decided he wanted to run for a seat on the council. Part of his campaign to do this was the idea for a daylong celebration to bring the people of Richfield together.
In 1980, Howard's idea was made into reality when the first Richfield Fourth of July Parade began. However, that first parade went in the opposite direction of today’s parade—it began at the Richfield Ice Arena and ended at Augsburg Park where there was entertainment along with a fireworks display.
The Grand Marshall was USA Hockey Team member, and Richfield native, Olympian Steve Christoff. That first year there was also a Family Run & Walk to get the residents out and moving as part of the celebration.
Due to the overwhelming success of that first year, the committee decided to plan an annual celebration. They invited former Vikings Player Bob Lurtsema to be the Grand Marshall and the celebration continued.
In 1982, a royalty program was added, and on the 10th anniversary a carnival also became part of this now five day celebration. Other major milestones include adding a July 3rd street dance and a July 2nd family night.
Howard continued to be part of the all-volunteer committee that planned the celebration for many years. In fact he was honored as Grand Marshall in 1999 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his idea. Howard and his famous red, white, and blue sports coat continued to be a big part of this celebration until his death in 2006. Howard was also honored by being part of the button during the 30th celebration in 2009. Howard's vision not only brought Richfield together in 1980, but continues to do so 32 years later.
For a more detailed history on the Richfield Hometown 4th of July Committee, including a list of its past and present members, the themes, and even a list of past/present Richfield Ambassadors, please visit richfield4thofjuly.com and click on committee.