Hometown Fourth of July brings family and friends together for fun, play, and fireworks

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[July 06, 2016]  LINCOLN - On Monday morning, the registration period for the annual Fourth of July Children’s Parade in Lincoln got off to a slow start. With the temperatures a little cooler than normal, and heavy clouds overhead that looked like it could rain at any moment, some may have held off wondering if they would get soaked through on the trek from Scully Park to the Lincoln Park District.

However, as the clock approached 9:30 a.m. and time for judging of the best patriotic costume in a number of age and transportation mode categories, the street on the south side of the park filled with kids and adults, anxious to be deemed the best of the best in their category.

Mayor Marty Neitzel and Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs were on hand along with City Treasurer Chuck Conzo and wife Judy, and several members of the Lincoln Police Department.

The parade kicked off on time with a large group of children and adults making the trek to the Lincoln Park District.

When everyone arrived at the Lincoln Park District Recreation Center they were first treated to bottled water and sweet treats. A prize went to all entries, a make it yourself glider airplane. Soon after they arrived, several of the kids took advantage of the down time to put together the planes and see how well they would fly.

The group was welcomed to the park district by Mayor Neitzel. Then Park District Executive Director John Andrews announced the winners of the various categories.

Parade winners:

Bicycles & tricycles ages 0 – 6
1st – Eli Gayah
2nd – Autumn Marten
3rd – Maggie Manuel

Bicycles & tricycles ages 7 – 8
Two entries only
1st – Ryne Manuel
2nd – Lydia Cline

Bicycles & tricycles ages 9 – 12
1st – Miley Sampson
2nd – Lillian Manuel
3rd – Ema Samples

Foot, skateboard, skates ages 0 – 6
Two entries only
1st – Lily Zirlulbach
2nd – Jacob (no last name given)

Foot, skateboard, skates ages 7 – 8
Two entries only
1st – Kamdin Heinzel
2nd – Caleb Zirlulbach

All other wheels ages 0 – 6
1st – Lainey Cosby
2nd – Hunter Craig
3rd – Brooklyn Tomkinson

Prizes were also given for pets.
The second prize went to the only cat entry in the parade.
1st prize went to Erb.

After prizes were given out, Alderwoman Tibbs said a few words, reminding everyone of the importance of celebrating locally and keeping up good family traditions. The kids were then invited to visit the front lawn of the recreation center,where the Lincoln Fire Department was anxious to give them all a good soaking with their extra-large water hoses.

After enjoying a morning walk in the Lincoln Fourth of July Children’s Parade, topped off with a sweet snack, kids on Monday had a chance to get wet….really wet, courtesy of the Lincoln Fire Department.

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Gathering on the front lawn at the Lincoln Park District Recreational Center, the department brought in their engine 5104 and hosed down everyone within 100 feet of their truck with chilly water.

Kids screamed, ran, took cover together, but in the end, they kept coming back for more. One little gal was seen trying to escape the water flow by running behind a large evergreen in the front lawn. However, the eagle eye of Chief Mark Miller caught the maneuver, and showed her how easily he could direct it water to fly over the tree and land right on her.

The kids enjoyed several minutes of water play while grownups watched from the sidelines.

When evening time arrived, folks began early gathering at the Lincoln Park District again, this time for fireworks.

Some came early to secure their favorite parking spot so they could see the show from the back of a truck or the comfort of their soft car seats. Others wanted to secure that perfect spot for their blankets and lawn chairs. Children and parents played together on the green fields of the driving range with Frisbees, footballs, softballs, bottles of bubbles, and more.

Pets were popular at the park district as several brought their dogs, and one family brought their pet hamster.

One young man came early to secure a good spot for parking and watching the show with his friends. During the daylight hours he and a friend used their time working on a favorite project, the big Chevy truck they had brought to the fireworks.

Others came to enjoy the food offered by the Park District Concession. They enjoyed hotdogs and brats, cold drinks and big bags of popcorn.

At 9:15 p.m. a voice on the sound system asked all to stand and remove their hats for the playing of the National Anthem. A hush fell over the entire park area as the music filled the air. Then it was time for the fireworks.

This year the display was wonderful, with several special shape rockets as well as some wonderful ground displays intermingled with traditional explosions of color against a deep dark sky.

When the last rocket had been shot, the crowd clapped and cheered their appreciation for another fine Fourth of July in Lincoln. With that, the night was over for many; yet throughout the town there were those occasional booms of home displays that went on into the night.

[Nila Smith]

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