Co-Commodores Selected for 2023 Star Spanged Spectacular

Jared and Ty Eggers, Star Spangled Spectacular 2023 commodores, have selected Holly Schipper and Liz Smith, Sugar Bowl Gift Shop owners, as co-commodores for the July 3-4 events.

Schipper and Smith will assist Eggerses in planning the annual Independence Day celebration in Storm Lake before taking over as commodores for the 2024 Star Spangled Spectacular. However, this isn’t their first year planning Fourth of July fun in Storm Lake; the duo served as co-commodores in 2013 and commodores in 2014. They have also run the Kiddie Parade for eight consecutive years. Both spent their youth in Buena Vista County as well—making memories along Storm Lake’s shoreline each July 4.

“Growing up in Storm Lake, the Star Spangled Spectacular is a treasured event in my heart,” says Smith—a 2000 Storm Lake High School grad with a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan. She recalls spending her days riding through the park on her bike with friends as they enjoyed the free attractions and watched the fireworks from a family friend’s lake home or the jetty. She began working for the Phillips family’s Sugar Bowl when she turned 16.

Smith began her career at Lakeside Presbyterian Church as the Christian Education Director while earning her RN, which then led her to a full-time nursing position at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center. She continued her part-time sales work at Sugar Bowl before purchasing the shop with Schipper in 2012. “I’m a caretaker at heart, so helping others in any circumstance makes me happy,” she says. “We offer our customers goods, services, and care in a physical location unlike any other place, and the creative side of retail is made even better by working beside a great staff and business partner every day.”

Both Smith and Schipper refer to their employees as their work family, and together they bring thoughtful gifts and creative solutions to their business in downtown Storm Lake.

Schipper says, “We hope to bring some fresh events or ideas when we step into our commodore role next year, but right now we are just excited about Jared and Ty’s energy. We can’t wait to see what ideas they bring to the table while we have some creative fun.”

The four are brainstorming ways in which to further heighten the July 3-4 events through nostalgia, abundant food, and enhancing the notorious Big Parade—whether it be through new entries, speed, and more.

“Growing the event year after year will require a few more volunteers than we’ve had in the past, so we hope to find some community members who can volunteer a couple hours of their holiday—whether it be through manning the parade or working for their affiliated nonprofit’s food booth,” says commodore Ty Eggers.

Schipper says she and Smith are eager to give back and help support such an important part of Storm Lake’s traditions. “It takes a village, and we want to be a part of that!”

A 1999 Aurelia grad, Schipper remembers her family vying for the same Parade viewing location each year before finishing the day at Frank Starr Park watching the fireworks from across the lake. In 2008 she earned a bachelor’s degree in dance from the University of Iowa after working at Sugar Bowl for a few years. She then returned to Storm Lake to work as Sugar Bowl’s manager and teach dance part-time at Impulse Dance Academy before pairing up with her business partner, Smith.

“I cannot imagine a better person to be doing this with than Liz, who has such a big heart, is the hardest worker, and loves the creative path as much as I do,” she says.

Schipper and her longtime boyfriend, Boun Bourommavong live in Storm Lake where Bourommavong is a knife technician at Tyson Turkey. Smith and her husband Matt live in rural Cherokee where he farms. They have two daughters: Clea, 5; and Sieler, 2.

The Eggerses met at Buena Vista University in 2008 and lived in Omaha before returning to Storm Lake five years ago. Jared holds a BVU degree in management of informational systems and works for Security Trust and Savings Bank as an assistant vice president. He enjoys interacting with customers, hearing their stories, and helping them make sound financial decisions in order to ensure long-term success. Ty is a Storm Lake native with a degree in corporate communications. She has worked for Aflac since 2010 and recently joined Stille Pierce and Pertzborn Insurance Agency where she specializes in employee benefits, assisting businesses in Storm Lake and the surrounding area. The couple’s favorite Fourth of July tradition is taking their children—Jace (6) and Blake (2)—to the Big Parade each year.

Entertainment will begin on Monday, July 3rd with a car cruise, kiddie parade, and music in the Bandshell. Tuesday’s events will commence with the popular Ride-Run around the lake, followed by the Big Parade along Lakeshore Drive mid-morning. Other favorites, including a variety of food and music, will take place throughout the day before the evening fireworks.

A full schedule will be posted at as plans for the festivities unfold. Updates will also be shared to the event’s social media pages.