SLATER, Iowa – Each 4th of July between 10,000 and 20,000 people come to the small Story County town of Slater on July 4. The town has hosted a July 4th Celebration for over 100 years. For a number of years the celebration was alternated between nearby Sheldahl, and Slater. Over the last 10 years, it has only been in Slater.
What brings so many people here? Bob Krause is the emcee for the day, he says for many it is some local tie to family or friends. For others he says, “people like to come here for the small town feel.” Krause adds this is one of those towns where “everybody knows everybody.”
The town is known for it’s huge parade, which this year lasted over an hour. The town also has a big fireworks planned for Friday night which draws people from all over. Slater, though a rural town is located 9 miles south of Ames and down highway 210 it is a short drive from I-35. Over the years this town is popular with people who need to go to Ames, or Des Moines.
Krause says his favorite part of the celebration is the food. A Boy Scout troop was serving up grilled sweet corn on a stick. Customers were lining in eager anticipation of getting that treat. Others could not wait to get to the Sheldahl United Methodist Church’s booth. They served up a soft bowl of ice cream, topped with fruit, chocolate, or caramel.
There is also entertainment. One feature is called “Slater’s Got Talent.” There is also a pet show, and a dance studio was performing this afternoon. The venue is a huge park shelter three times the size of most park shelters. The shelter built 20 years ago by the Slater Community Club. That group uses lots of volunteers to put on the July 4th Event.