Morrison Ruritan’s annual Fourth of July celebration didn’t have the same bang on its rescheduled date of Labor Day.
The baby show, the kids games, and the fireworks all remained on the schedule as usual. The one thing that was different was the crowd.
It was a noticeably smaller gathering Monday in downtown Morrison as the community celebrated Independence Day two months late. Unrelenting rain in early July forced organizers to postpone the first event.
Morrison Mayor and Ruritan member Sue Anderson said the low attendance will hurt the organization’s bottom line.
“This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year,” said Anderson. “We count on this to sell a lot of burgers and a lot of ice cream.”
Morrison Ruritan member Lavell Whitehead said canceling the celebration was not an option.
“We had already bought all the fireworks so we had to do something with them,” said Whitehead. “Nobody was real eager to store them at their house for a year. I think people are not really in the habit of coming out here on Labor Day. They’re used to it on the Fourth, but not on Labor Day.”
Those in attendance were treated to the traditional fun and excitement that comes with the annual Fourth of July celebration, including a variety of kids games. Cassidy Newby showed her endurance to come from behind and win the sack race in the children’s division.
“I’ve been in enough sack races, I knew my strategy coming in,” said Newby. “I leapt as hard as I could and kicked my feet to the front of the sack.”
When it came to the women’s hammer throw, Sara Beaty was reluctant to enter as one of the last contestants. She stepped to the line and easily won four passes to Cedarwood Pumpkin Patch with an impressive heave.
The event marked a first for P.J. Ernst, who gave his first public performance of the national anthem. He received a big round of applause for his catchy rendition.
“It sounds a lot better when I sing in the shower,” said Ernst. “I figured I couldn’t mess it up worse than anyone else.”
Jason Simmons served as DJ and did his best to get the crowd on its feet. He was successful in getting several people to dance and do the “Cha Cha Slide.” Simmons has over 1,800 songs and the best price in town for his DJ services.
“I don’t charge a dime,” said Simmons. “If it’s someone here in town, I’m happy to help them out if I can.”
Organizers were hoping for a large field for the baby show since Morrison wasn’t competing with other communities for contestants as happens on the Fourth. But boys were entered in only one of seven categories. Participation was down on the girls side as well.