Fourth of July festivities abound

Nappanee will join the ranks with towns all across the country celebrating the nation’s independence with parades, food, family fun and more.
July 4 kicks off early with the Big Cup Golf Tournament at McCormick Creek Golf Course at 7:30 a.m. followed by a Junior Olympics competition at Stauffer Park, sponsored by the Nappanee Rotary Club at 8 a.m. From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. children can occupy themselves with bounce houses, free swimming at the city pool (from noon to 4 p.m.) or face painting, and fun for the whole family begins with the parade at 11 a.m.
Kimberly Ingle, Nappanee clerk-treasurer, said the parade time change (from 4 p.m. as in years past) was made in part to make the event more timely for members of the community who normally have their plans set for later in the day.
There is no registration but entrants of all kinds are asked to line up at west Lincoln Street no later than 10:15 a.m. The route continues to Main Street and then proceeds north to Centennial, then east to Summit Street before traveling north again to Stauffer Park.
A waterball contest, open to the public, begins at 1 p.m. at the basketball courts. Nappanee Fire Chief Don Lehman explained that the competition has been going strong for “more than 20 years ... maybe more than 30.”
“Its a double-elimination competition,” he said. “There are three-minute rounds. ... The point is to try to move the ball to the opponent’s side, controlling it with the stream.” Families, businesses and other fire departments compete in teams of six in hopes of winning a plaque.
A “Minute To Win It” competition sponsored by Downie Auto Sales begins at 1 p.m. for children in grades Kindergarten through eighth. Event coordinator Mike Stanifer said the game had been played in the past at the Nappanee Public Library which is letting him borrow the items to host the game. Children will progress through each challenge to a final winner, though all participants will receive a certificate as a prize.
At 2 p.m. the American Legion Post #154 Sons of the Legion will host a Tailgate Toss tournament outside the men’s softball diamond for all ages. Those that want to play must preregister between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Singer Anthony Troyer performs at 4 p.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m. there will be pony rides for the kids. Nappanee can show off its talented citizens at 5 p.m. (registration is from 1 to 5 p.m.) during the “Nappanee’s Got Talent” competition.
“It’s for all ages and all kinds of talent,” said Stanifer of the event. “This is the first time we’ve done it. My big thing was trying to find something for families to do and to build it (the July 4 celebration) up.”
Like the popular television show, three judges (Nappanee Civic Theater Director Steve Phillips and Nappanee resident Rob Slagle are locked in to serve on the judging panel) will choose a first- and second- place winner who will earn a cash prize. And while there aren’t any “Xs” for the judges to use to stop acts that aren’t as talented as they think they are, Stanifer said he would “pull the plug” on “anything that wasn’t family-oriented.”
At 5:30 p.m. there will be a youth baseball tournament followed by a teen dance from 8 to 10 p.m.
All day long (from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) there will be community sales and food vendors will be selling their wares to the hungry hordes. A special addition to the festivities is a fundraiser beginning at 10 a.m. where local stylist Stacie Weaver of 1106 HairQuarters Salon will be giving haircuts for donations to benefit the family of Noah Mikel to help with medical expenses.
Weaver will also offer a patriotic “wash out” coloring for kids and handcrafted greeting cards will be sold to benefit the Mikel family.
The event will end with a traditional display of fireworks, something EMS Chief/Director Jim Sumpter said “is left to the professionals.” Night Magic will light up the skies for an approximately 20-minute show. “The goal is to have one (firework) in the air all the time,” he said.
The shells will be set off on the west side of the sledding hill so parking and observation are best to be done on the east of the softball complex. Those that want to attend the display will want to follow traffic signs for detouring of C.R. 7.