2022 Winner: Snap-On
2019 Winner: In-Sink-Erator
2022 Winner: Hope City Church
2019 Winner: Snap-On Tools
Roy A. Spencer
Roy A. Spencer was born in 1880 on the family farm outside of Racine. He was the oldest of seven children, born to Mr. And Mrs. William Spencer. After an ill-fated attempt at pioneering in North Dakota, the family returned to Racine in 1893 without their father, who had died from the long hours of hard work.
Life in Racine for this family with meager savings and no income forced Spencer to leave seventh grade and go to work. His first job was a paper boy for the old Racine Journal. During his 10 years at the paper, Spencer worked his way up and gained a reputation as a skilled pressman. In 1907 his boyhood friend, E. H. Wadewitz offered Spencer the opportunity that shaped the young pressman’s destiny. Wadewitz, an enterprising bookkeeper, had bought a small print shop, West Side Printing Co., and called on Spencer to handle the technical operations. By 1909 the name was changed to Western Printing and Lithographing Co. and Spencer became president, a position he held until his retirement in 1935. By then, Western had become a multi-million dollar commercial printer and publisher.
Two years after his retirement, Spencer’s health improved, and he began taking an active interest again in community affairs.
A group of his friends and backers urged him to run for mayor. Reluctantly, he did and was elected in April, 1937. Soon thereafter he found himself in the role of mediator in labor disputes. Spencer used his office to launch an effective move for harmony between labor and management, reuniting Racine’s factions jolted by a series of disagreements. Today’s annual 4th of July celebration is a direct result of Spencer’s early goodwill efforts.
Spencer believed that the 1937 Goodwill celebration would be a onetime event. He was surprised and pleased when it became the tradition that it is. In 1961, the board of directors of Goodwill, Inc. created the Roy A. Spencer Float Award in his honor.
2022 Winner: Park High School
2019 Winner: Racine Art Museum
W. Allen Gifford
W. Allen Gifford was widely known as “The Big Milkman”. It was his civic conscience, however, which put Gifford in the public spotlight most often.
Over the years, he contributed time, effort and money to countless community projects, ranging from the Boy Scouts and YMCA to the Community Chest and the city’s annual July 4th Goodwill Celebration. Gifford’s figure astride one of his horses at the head of the Goodwill Parade was a familiar sight.
In 1912 Gifford, along with his brother Joseph, equipped with one horse- drawn wagon, using the family herd of cows as a milk source, started selling to customers in the southeast side of Racine. The operation was called Gifford Sanitary Milk. Gifford later changed the name to Progressive Dairy and incorporated the company in 1923. Their plant was located at 1214 Lathrop Avenue.
During the Depression, Progressive Dairy delivered skim milk to the needy without charge and to others extended credit, so much in fact that the dairy was broke, but nobody knew it.
Gifford and Progressive Dairy were closely associated with the Goodwill 4th of July celebration since its inception. He was elected president of Goodwill, Inc. in 1953 and had been parade chairman and grand marshall many times. One year during World War II, Gifford provided horses to draw the floats when a gasoline shortage threatened the parade. Progressive Dairy’s floats were among the most beautiful year after year. They always carried Miss Goodwill along with her court.
Gifford passed away in October of 1963. The directors of Goodwill, Inc. decided to rename the Parade Chairman’s Trophy, The W. Allen Gifford Trophy which is annually awarded to one of the top three floats in the industrial division.
Gifford was further memorialized in the late 1960s when the newly build Gifford Junior High School was named in his honor.
2022 Winner: Racine Curling Club
2019 Winner: Horlick High School
Bernard F. Magruder
In 1919 young Bernard Magruder left his home in Webb City, Missouri, to come to Racine, after serving 18 months of military service in World War I.
After a short period of employment with Webster Electric, Magruder joined the Horlick’s Malted Milk Corp. where he became an executive in the area of accounting and finance, a position he held until the late 1940s. In early 1937, the mayor of Racine, Roy Spencer, in an attempt to neutralize the bitterness that the industrial community was experiencing, organized The Goodwill Committee. Bernard Magruder was chosen as chairman of this 25 member group, made up of business and labor leaders. The Goodwill Committee organized a celebration centered around the 4th of July. The event was a smashing success, far beyond anyone’s expectations.
At the follow-up meeting after the Fourth, Chairman Magruder suggested that the committee stay intact and promote The Goodwill Celebration as an annual event. Some members balked at the idea, but Magruder’s plan prevailed. In his column in the Racine Journal-Times, Tex Reynolds wrote, “This decision resulted in permanizing (sic) the event”.
Magruder left Racine in the late 1940s to join the faculty of Wayne State University in Detroit. He later moved to Washington, D.C. where he was on the staff of the Internal Revenue Service until his retirement. Through the years, Magruder was an active member of the American Legion, the Masons, the Elks and many other civic and professional organizations. He was also a master bridge player, lecturer and teacher.
While residing in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Magruder passed away on October 27, 1968. The Board of Directors of Fourth Fest of Greater Racine, Inc. has decided (belatedly) to rename The President’s Trophy The Bernard F. Magruder Trophy beginning July 4, 2006.
2022 Winner: Hooked Up Towing
2019 Winner: First Weber Real Estate
W.C. “Tex” Reynolds
William Charles Reynolds, better known as “Tex” was an editorial writer and columnist for two Racine newspapers for 45 years. Reynolds came to Racine in 1922 to work for the Racine Times-Call as a linotype operator. Within two years he moved from the pressroom to writing a column called “Reynolds Says” which later became “Racine Reflector”.
In 1932 the Racine Times-Call merged with the Racine Journal-News to form the Racine Journal-Times. Reynolds soon found himself writing a column called “Sidewalks of Racine”. In 1937 the column became known as “Between the Lines”, which he wrote until his retirement in 1969. It was in the spring of 1937 that newly elected mayor Roy A. Spencer formed the Goodwill Committee in an effort to neutralize the bitterness that prevailed between labor and management. Reynolds was a co-founder of this committee which promoted goodwill though a community centered Fourth of July celebration.
In 1950 the Goodwill Committee, with its 125 members, became a corporation with Reynolds serving as its first president. In 1951 he was honored by the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for helping to bring about a better understanding of the American way of life.
The Goodwill Committee, later to become known as Racine Fourth Fest, Inc., along with the entire greater Racine area, owe much to Reynolds for his many contributions through the years. Beginning in 1978, the W. C. “Tex” Reynolds trophy has been awarded to one of the top three floats entered in the Non-Industrial Division.
2022 Winner: Racine Concert Band
2019 Winner: Washington Park High School
Charles B. Arnold
A self-employed sign painter, Charles “Barney” Arnold started sign writing in 1925 and opened his own business in 1930. He became a professional builder of hundreds of floats for area parades for fifty years and encouraged the enthusiasm of amateurs, teaching them to build their own floats. That is why the Charles B. Arnold Award is so appropriate.
Arnold, with family members and friends, created parade floats that thrilled spectators in Racine’s July Fourth parades since 1937. Before that, he and his wife, Mildred, started building floats for Labor Day parades when every union had its own float and every union member walked in the parade. The Arnolds were amateurs then. Local union leaders resisted going to Chicago when they could get them build in Racine by Arnold.
With the formation of the Goodwill Celebrations in 1937, the Arnolds consistently pleased their clients, including Racine’s major manufacturing companies, and the crowds that lined the streets. Using floral paper, wood lath, chicken wire and staple guns, their team would turn old farm wagons with plodding milk delivery horses into Cinderella’s carriage; sea world strips, TV and Disney. Rebuilt many times since, the stirring Iwo Jima float was created originally by the Arnolds in 1947. Some years they built as many as 20 floats for the Fourth and as many for Labor Day parades.
Arnold officially retired from building floats at the 200th Birthday Fourth of July parade in 1976, the year he was named “Mr. Goodwill” by parade sponsors. For one of Racine’s biggest parades, Arnold had built his own small float of Uncle Sam’s top hat on which he rode proudly down the line of march leading 35 floats, including many of those he and his crew had built.
He built floats or helped others build them for every Fourth of July parade except for the three he missed while a Navy Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II. His wife carried on the float business in his absence.
Since 1978 The Charles B. Arnold trophy has been awarded to one of the top three floats in the Non-Industrial Division.
2022 Winner: n/a
2019 Winner: St. Catherine’s High School
Edna S. Christensen
In late April of 1937, the newly-elected mayor of Racine, Roy Spencer, gathered together a group of community leaders, largely drawn from business, industry and labor circles. At that meeting the Goodwill Committee was formed, consisting of 25 men and one woman, Edna Christensen. The goal of this committee was to arrange a return of civility to the beleaguered city.
Christensen held the position of secretary for 30 years (1937-1967). In 1952, she took on the added responsibility of treasurer.
The city of Racine employed Christensen as manager of Memorial Hall for 19 years. At the same time, she was secretary/treasurer of Horlick Athletic Field. From 1944 to 1947 she served as business manager of the Racine Belles of the All-American Girls Baseball League.
Having studied dance under Jesse Walters Northrup, Christensen later owned her own dance studio in Racine. She served as president of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters from 1946 to 1955 and later became its secretary/treasurer.
Since 1978, the Edna Christensen trophy has been awarded to one of the top three floats entered in the Non-Industrial Division.
2022 Winner: n/a
2019 Winner: Case High School
This traveling trophy is awarded annually to the “Most Outstanding High School” regarding their participation in Racine’s nationally known 4th Fest Parade. Recipients are judged on their performance, cohesive uniformity, overall entry, floats, and overall presence in the parade.
2022 Winner: n/a
2019 Winner: Shadow Drum & Bugle Corps
The Fourth Fest Parade had a new trophy to award in 1993. It was presented to the Drum and Bugle Corps judged to be the best. Because Robert Bohm was an active participant in the Fourth of July Parade for fifty-two years, it is fitting that this trophy bear his name.
He first marched in a Fourth of July Parade in 1937 as a fourteen-year-old member of the Racine Boy Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. During the early years he also worked in concession stands at Cedar Bend, the site of the Fourth picnic and fireworks.
Bohm continued to be a part of the Fourth of July parades until 1943 when he was called to serve with the United States Army Signal Corps in the South Pacific.
His return to civilian life in 1946 also marked his return to marching in the Goodwill parades. He was a member of the Boys of ’76 Drum and Bugle Corps for five years. This was a corps sponsored by Racine American Legion Post 76. He served as their marching director from 1951 to 1954. He then became marching director of the Boy Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from 1954 to 1965.
In 1966, Bohm assumed the role of awards chairman for floats and marching units and continued in that capacity until 1989.
Bohm was a master electrician and president/owner of Bohm Electrical Contractors. He served a term as governor of the Wisconsin Electrical Contractors Association. In addition, he found time to serve on the boards of the Racine Area United Way and Society’s Assets. Active with the Downtown Rotary Club, Bohm was also past president of his church council.
2022 Winner: Green Beret Marching Band
2019 Winner: Jr Lighthouse Brigade Band
Frederick F. Schulte
For most of the first half of the 20th Century, Frederick F. Schulte was known as Racine’s “Mr. Music”. His efforts as a conductor, composer, bandmaster and teacher justly earned him that title.
Schulte taught music in the Racine Public School System for 36 years, mostly at Washington Park High School where he composed their alma mater and pep song, “Hail to Thee Park High”. He retired in 1957 from the position of music consultant for the entire school district.
Schulte started his long music career at age 16 when he began playing professionally. Master of many instruments, Schulte played the French horn in the Great Lakes Band under the direction of John Phillip Sousa while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I.
Schulte is credited with organizing the Racine Symphony Orchestra in 1931 as well as the S.C. Johnson Industrial Band in 1927, both of which he conducted for many years. In 1937 the Johnson Company organized an all- girl chorus and a year later founded its men’s glee club, both of which were also directed by Schulte until 1963.
Schulte made an impact on drum corps techniques nationally when he introduced the playing of classical music by the Boys of ’76 Drum and Bugle Corps in 1929. He also was associated with other musical groups, including the famed YMCA Kilties and the Racine Park Board Band.
Schulte’s career spanned bands, symphonies, musical comedies, oratorios, operas and parades, in fact every Goodwill 4th of July celebration from 1937 through the early 1960s.
Schulte died in 1966 at the age of 74. A year later, the Schulte Elementary School was named in his honor. In 1993 the Board of Directors of Racine 4th Fest, Inc. created a trophy in his memory to be awarded to the marching band judged the best in Racine’s 4th Fest Parade.