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Keeping up traditions - Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer: News

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Keeping up traditions

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Posted: Wednesday, July 4, 2018 12:00 pm

The air was warm but not oppressive Sunday morning when people started gathering at Little Ponderosa for the Annual July 4th Parade. The Churchill Five Forks VFD had the water cannon ready and waiting off the dock and onlookers on boats and jet skis took their turn running through the spray.

“We did a count and there were between 45 and 50 boats,” said an enthusiastic Charles Ledbetter.

Ledbetter is the event organizer. He took it over a few years ago when former organizer Jack Houston passed away and the event is growing.

“It was really nice to see,” he said. “We gave out 350-some bags of candy. The kids love it. Those kids come booking down those docks when they see us coming.”

Ledbetter said the big kids like it too and shared that he saw a few on the docks catching candy in fishing nets.

“It went really well,” he said.

Uncle Sam and the American Eagle made two appearances. There were American flags strung from one end of the parade to the other and patriotic music blared from many of the boats. The “candy boat” blew bubbles for the kids and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Michelle Matthews, who had pulled up a chair under an oak tree, was watching with a smile on her face. She said she doesn’t get to see this kind of thing where she’s from in “Baltimore City.”

“I come down every year to see it,” she said. “I love it out here. It’s really relaxing.”

On their final leg, the group took turns going under the water cannon. The kids squealed with delight and the grown folks cheered.

“We really appreciate the Churchill Five Forks Fire Department and all the volunteers and everybody that came out,” Ledbetter said. “I thought it went really great. It’s a tradition. We can’t stop doing it now!”

With Fireworks and Music at Rosemont in LaCrosse on July 6 starting at 5 p.m. and the Peahill Creek Fireworks and Veterans Tribute Show at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, Lake Gaston has plenty more patriotism and traditions to fill the week with fun.