Touchstone Energy volunteers get July 4th float ready to roll


Touchstone Energy volunteers teamed up June 26 to decorate this year’s 4th of July float.

What’s red, white and blue and has balloons and fringe all over? This year’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® float!

The float is sure to impress at the Mandan (ND) Independence Day Parade Friday, as it follows Basin Electric’s Transmission System Maintenance bucket truck, also known as the Condor, and the larger-than-life Touchstone Energy puppets.

Each year the float is different. Volunteers first choose a theme and design. Then they decorate.

This year’s parade theme is, “Show Your Colors… Red, White & Blue” and the theme for the float is, “Keep Calm and Co-op On.” Basin Electric event planner/charitable giving coordinator, Jennifer Holen, says this year’s float ties in both of the themes and represents co-op pride. “We are all so proud to be co-ops and this year’s float shows both our pride in our co-ops and country,” Holen says.

Basin Electric multimedia specialist II, Tracey Krusi, volunteered to come up with the design of the float and says it all began with a small idea. “Since the float last year was pretty labor intensive, this year we wanted to do something that would be easier to assemble, but would still have a lot of wow-factor. We used a kit that makes a large arch and columns of balloons for the St. Baldrick’s Brave the Shave event and I thought it would be perfect for the float,” Krusi says. “It only took us about 45 minutes to put it together because of the help from all the volunteers.”

North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives E-communications manager, Clarice Kesler, volunteered to help build the float. “It’s always such a great group of people to work with. I have to say this is probably record time that we’ve put the float together this year. Tracey has come up with a wonderful design that is very impressive and cost efficient,” Kesler says. “Hats off to her!”

Kesler also shows her support by walking in the parade and says it has become a family tradition. “My family and I have been walking in the parade as long as my girls could walk and they love doing it. As long as they enjoy it we will continue to walk,” Kesler says.

So whether it’s the Condor, puppets, balloons, fringe or the 75 walkers that catch the spectators’ eye – one thing is for sure; the float wouldn’t be possible without the support of Touchstone Energy Cooperative employees and their families each year.

Sponsoring Touchstone Cooperatives include: Basin Electric, National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), Capital Electric Cooperative, Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.


Volunteers look over the mockups of the float and decide how they will decorate.

Float 4

Wes Engbrecht, Capital Electric director of communications and public relations, pumps air into the balloons.

Float 3

Volunteers hang the fringe around the float.

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