July 4, 2010
LIMA — At an event as large as the Star Spangled Spectacular, the perspectives about the day and holiday are varied. Here are some, from people who helped make the day happen to those who enjoyed all that was offered:
J’anah Barnett, fishing derby contestant
A 3-year-old dabbled her cane pole in Bear Pit Lake, waiting for a fish to bite. It was the first time Lima resident J’anah Barnett participated in the derby.
“She wanted to try it out, so why not?” said Barnett’s mother, Jana Clark, 38.
Clark doesn’t like to handle worms, so she provided corn for bait. She said she had watched her nephews fish and thought her daughter was old enough to participate this year.
Layne Boyd, dispatcher
In her 12th year as a communications operator with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, Layne Boyd enjoys the job because she gets to help people and because she has “the gift of gab.” Boyd is in her “second go-round” at Faurot Park. She worked a 12-hour shift Sunday as the hub in the communication wheel for police, firefighters and emergency medical workers.
“I’m a sucker!” she says, then laughs long and hard, explaining how she drew the shift. With her children grown and out of town, Boyd said she doesn’t mind working the holiday.
“I enjoy the people coming in and out. You have a lost child, a lost purse,” Boyd said. “Once the fireworks start, I get excited. I go outside and have a good view.”
Josh Braymiller, bus driver
With roasting temperatures Sunday, the buses were quiet during the day, as folks waited until evening to make their way to Faurot Park. That gave Braymiller a chance to rest a minute before taking another load back up Collett Street to St. Rita’s Medical Center.
The Allen County RTA driver worked his first July 4 after volunteering for the holiday.
“You’ve got to watch out for other people, other buses,” Braymiller said of the street that’s otherwise empty during the event. “It’s a community service. People don’t have to drive, they don’t have to walk. They get to ride in a nice, clean bus.”
Dick Coon, parade of flags
As the chaplain for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1275, Dick Coon takes many opportunities to teach about the sacrifice of those serving in the military. Coon served in the Korean War, in the Navy from 1950 to 1954.
“What do I like about today? Celebrating coming back from the war alive and without wounds,” Coon said. “We fought in those wars so we can celebrate at gatherings like this.”
Coon helped present the colors at the parade of flags, the official opening of the Star Spangled Spectacular concert and fireworks.
Joyce Ginther and Jay Lugibihl, food vendors
Ottawa native Joyce Ginther, 56, and Bluffton resident Jay Lugibihl, 54, sat beside their booth, which made a clacking noise as a 1928 John Deere engine turned a belt, churning ice cream.
The siblings’ parents started Lugibihl’s Homemade Ice Cream, and they’ve had a stand at the event since it began.
Ginther said it usually takes 20 to 25 minutes to make the Amish-recipe, and they make 10 gallons at a time.
Lugibihl said every event is different and fun, and Ginther agreed.
“I like the people,” she said.
Margot Hamilton, symphony musician
Playing in the Lima Symphony Orchestra for about 10 years, Margot Hamilton, of Dayton, makes the trip to the Spectacular when she can.
Playing for the fireworks is fun and hectic at the same time, she said. Hamilton plays string double bass. She’s usually more worried about the weather than what’s going on behind the stage up in the air. The bass does not take kindly to humidity. Wet weather is worse. Sunday, she didn’t have either, just 90 degrees and serious sun.
“On stage, you kind of go on auto pilot,” Hamilton said. “You’re trained not to pay attention to other things. Plus, we play some familiar music, the national anthem, ‘God Bless America,’ our Souza marches.”
Mike Hemmelgarn, magician
A line of kids and adults waited on a hill for a man in a Hawaiian shirt to twist balloons into dogs, rabbits, teddy bears on hearts, monkeys on trees, hats, belts and swords.
Mike Hemmelgarn, 48, of Springboro, made balloon animals before his performance at Pavilion Stage.
“Balloons are crazy popular here,” he said.
His act also included juggling, ventriloquism and magic, which he has performed for about 18 years.
“I like the freedom of expression,” Hemmelgarn said.
Aesha Hogan, petting zoo participant
Lima resident Queen McFadden, 54, watched her grandchildren as they peered through bars of cages that held a variety of small animals.
McFadden’s granddaughter, Aesha Hogan, said she liked the kangaroo most.
“It’s so cute,” the 10-year-old said.
McFadden said she enjoys celebrating the Fourth of July at the park and brought her grandchildren to show them it’s a day to honor those who have served in the military as well as celebrate America’s independence.
Chris Sweigart, kickball participant
A red kickball rolled over dirt as two teams battled it out. Lima native Chris Sweigart, 38, was part of a nine-person team whose members wore bright green shirts with the name ZFC on front.
The family team won last year’s competition and returned to play a second year. Sweigart said what he enjoys most is the relaxed atmosphere.
“It’s a good time,” he said.
James Walter, traffic control
If you’re driving on Collett Street on July 4, chances are you have a reason to be there. You won’t get past James Walter at the American Red Cross parking lot without a parking pass. Walter volunteers with ACERT, one of the agencies key to making the Spectacular run well.
“There’s quite a few of us,” Walter said.
Walter and others arrived at 6 a.m. and they were going to be there until the last of the public left the park Sunday night. By midday, he and Rosa Gammon had a pile of pop cans and water bottles growing between them under a tent. Walter moved the yellow barricades back and forth as drivers needed in or out, all day long. All in a day’s volunteering.