Granddaughter wins Fourth of July art contest

A Talkeetna high school student who comes to Wrangell for the Fourth of July most every year to visit family is the winner of this year's chamber of commerce competition to design an official logo for the holiday celebration.

Kyla McChargue said her winning design, with boats and planes converging on Wrangell, is intended to show everyone coming to town for the Fourth.

"I just wanted to show that even if you don't live in Wrangell ... it's home," she said last week.

Kyla, 15, who will be a sophomore this fall at Susitna Valley Junior/Senior High School, is the daughter of Rob and Dena McChargue, of Talkeetna, and the granddaughter of Wrangell's Jonna and Curt Kautz. In addition, Wrangell's Kitty Angerman "is practically my aunt," Kyla said. Angerman, who is also an artist, "was my inspiration."

She was not expecting to win the design contest. "I prefer writing over art," Kyla explained, adding, "My little sister (Maggie) is a lot more artistic than I am."

In addition to showing planes and boats, her artwork includes the line: "Home where we belong!"

The Fourth is like a family reunion. "The Fourth of July is really special for our family," said Dena McChargue.

Her brother, Curty Kautz and his family, who live in Juneau, come to town so that he can compete in the boat races, and her sister, Tammie Kirschner and her family, also make the trip. "(We) all try to reunite annually in Wrangell for the Fourth."

Living in Wrangell as a teen, then Dena Kautz won the 2001 royalty contest for selling the most fundraising raffle tickets for the Fourth.

Kyla said she has made every Fourth, except for a couple of COVID years. The best part of coming to town is seeing family and friends, she said. "I really like the burgers."


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