What’s more American than apple pie? The small town Independence Day celebration! While there were no fireworks to end the night, the celebration really popped!
Dozens of Morgan residents were up and running on the morning of the 4th. The cross country team sponsored a 5K race, and a kid’s fun run. Some preferred sneakers, and others preferred wheels and took a ride on their bike. The cheerleaders did what they do best and created excitement for this event new to the schedule this year. Those with endurance to complete this task rode either 8.5 miles around the Stoddard loop, or 17.5 miles around the Peterson loop.
The volleyball team, fervent in fundraising efforts, served eggs, hash browns, juice, coffee and pancakes for over three hours. They also hosted a Volleyball Spike Night the evening before.
The park was filled with the echo of the cannon at 8 a.m. This venerated aspect of the days’ celebrations hailed a flag ceremony, which honors those that fight for our freedom, and celebrates out prestigious history. The veterans from our hometown were honored in a short program attended by nearly 200 patriotic participants. After the presentation everyone was invited to sign the Community Covenant. This symbolic document engages the signer to commit themselves to support soldiers and families of those serving in the military.
Baseball, the great American pastime, couldn’t be passed up for the patriotic festivity. Morgan Recreation had a great baseball season and built up to the championship held at the baseball diamond in the park. The machine pitch level eliminated some good teams prior to the event; only two teams were left—the Dodgers and the Rockies. The Rockies won the championship and received bobble head trophies. Their worthy opponents received medallions. A homerun derby was also held during the day and was sponsored by the WBBA.
At 10 a.m., young and old lined the streets of Morgan for the parade. Over 60 floats traversed the roads from the high school to the fairgrounds, waving, throwing candy, and some even squirting water guns. Tammy Babbitt, the parade coordinator, said their No. 1 goal was to make sure everyone was decorated, and everyone was patriotic. A few even were required to buy small items to dress their floats up a bit, however most came ready. Every small community in our county was encouraged to have their own float in the parade. Those who attended all seemed to agree this year was something exceptional. “Loved the parade! Very well done this year!!” Verlene Johnson said. Amber White added “The parade was awesome!”
As the last pieces of candy were picked from the street, and lawn chairs were packed away, families made their way to the park. The children’s carnival had a new location this year, farther north in the grassy area. The intense heat was softened by the shade of the aged trees surrounding the park. Almost 500 children purchased tickets to play nine games. They could even make a patriotic craft. The success of the carnival relied on volunteers to help at each station. Michele Walker, children’s carnival coordinator explained, “Most came from generous families and youth in the community that want to support and strengthen their town.”
“I think everyone enjoys seeing friends and neighbors and spending time with their families.” Walker said.
Boobilboo the clown captivated a young crowd with magic. Another favorite aspect of the day was Scales and Tails. In their presentation, they taught the audience about different snakes, lizards and even an alligator. Angry Birds and a slip and slide were favorites for teens.
Throughout the day there were booths set up with items varying from handmade pottery to children’s books. Sydnie Oliver enjoyed the vendors, “I thought it was awesome that it wasn’t the exact same as last year.”
Many residents received their first look at the new Trojan Center while coming away loaded with pulled pork sandwiches, snow cones, and other treats. After filling their stomachs, residents began to fill the bleachers for a concert. Unfortunately, the seats were not packed like they have been in the past. Due to dry conditions and forecasted weather, fireworks were banned. With the lack of sparkle and crackle, many families decided to leave the county to view a lit-up sky elsewhere.
Those who decided to stay for the show were not disappointed. Talia Wilson opened the night with country flair. Eric Dodge then pleased the crowd of about 300 with his talents in singing and creating a great show. He had songs of his own, as well as popular songs he put his own signature on.
The committee estimates there were between 1,500 and 2,000 people who attended the gathering. “We want a venue with that hometown feel-that’s Morgan,” Morgan 4th Committee Chair Christy Jacobson explained. She also pointed out this was a great fund raising venue, where a lot of teams and organizations were able to generate money through work. They offered valuable additions like breakfast and/or races. The money earned also helps to support the 4th of July celebrations in the future.
“It has been nice to see the hometown celebration come back to the park. The 4th just wasn’t the same without it. I always remember the fun we had as kids over there,” Lisa Sommers said.
A big thank you to all of those who served on the committee or worked in any other capacity to make this event amazing!