Marilyn Hagerty: Grand Forks home shows off American pride for Fourth of July

Marilyn Hagerty

The candles are 40 feet high. They are red, white and blue. And as the Fourth of July approaches, they light up the night at 619 18th Avenue S.

God bless America. That’s the theme in front of the home of Jack and Debbie Dekker. They love having cars come by. They love having children enjoy the display.

Dekker is a spry 70 year old who farmed for 45 years near Finley, N.D.. He’s a patriotic person who is using red, white and blue décor wherever he can. And he says, “I like to support the troops.”

He’s also adventurous. He has gone seven times by bike to the annual gathering at Sturgis, S.D.

Inside their home, Debbie Dekker continues the Fourth of July décor. And out in their 24 by 26-foot garage, there’s neat and orderly storage of décor they use for Halloween, Christmas and Easter.


They love to celebrate. They love having people drive by. He says some people knock at the door and thank them for the display.

It’s hard to find 18th Avenue S. It takes a turn to the east off Cherry Street. The home where the Dekkers salute the Fourth of July is at the end of the block. Then in order to get back out to Cherry Street, you take an unpaved alley road for half a block north.

The quiet block off Cherry Street has become well known for Christmas displays at the home of Kelly Nelson and also the Dekkers.

These days Dekker has to zigzag around the front yard to mow the lawn. But sometimes people knock at the front door to say thanks for the décor.

And that, he says, makes it all worthwhile.

Kiddee parade, fireworks

The week arrives with fireworks for sale and the state American Legion convention running in Grand Forks.

Meanwhile, the Sertoma Club is working on the final touches as it once again sponsors Fourth of July events in Grand Forks. This year with downtown reconstruction, there will be a different site for the action. The events will take place at 2401 47 th Avenue S. That’s east of Ulland softball field and west of South Middle School.

The idea for the Sertoma festival is that not everybody around here goes to the lakes.


The 2019 Sertoma Fourth of July Festival includes a free watermelon feed at 3 p.m. But first there’s a kiddee parade with lineup starting at 11 a.m. And festivities end with the traditional fireworks show. That will light up the sky at 10:30 p.m.

Anita and Don

Cheerful people of the week: Anita Geffre and Don Shields.

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