PIQUA — Families, residents, and visitors lined up along the Great Miami River in Piqua on Monday evening to celebrate the Fourth of July with a first: watching fireworks over the riverfront.
The city of Piqua continued in the tradition of the Piqua Fourth of July celebration held at Fountain Park, adding to it the festivities downtown and moving the fireworks to the riverfront.
“It think it’s a very good turnout,” Candi Etter of the committee for the Fourth of July celebration said. “I think the public liked all of the activities … I think it’s going over very well.”
Etter and other representatives from the city were passing out American flags and hats, 500 each. Later that evening, they passed out glow-in-the-dark bracelets.
“I’m glad it’s been successful,” Etter said.
“We come every year,” Gee Hall of Piqua said.
Hall was at the Fourth of July celebration at Fountain Park with her 2-year-old granddaughter Rhia Moore, who also comes to every Fourth of July celebration. Hall noted, though, that Moore slept through her first year of the Fourth of July celebration.
“She’s having a ball just running around,” Hall said, adding that her favorite part of the Fourth of July celebration is watching the kids have fun.
One couple was in town seeing family and decided to stop by the Fourth of July celebration, which was where they had their first date.
“Our first date … was 44 years ago on Fourth of July,” Ron Putnam said.
Two years later — after the first time they held hands — they got engaged.
“We got engaged on the Fourth of July,” Ron Putnam said, which was in 1974.
Ron Putnam and his wife Jane are currently from Virginia, but they grew up in Piqua.
“It’ll always be hometown to us,” Jane Putnam said.
Ron and Jane Putnam each volunteered as youth members of their respective churches at the Fourth of July celebration when they were growing up in Piqua, helping with the churches’ fundraising booths selling different kinds of food. They said that this year’s Fourth of July was different, but they are looking to incorporate it into an annual trip each year.
Despite the cloudy weather, long lines protruded from each of the booths along the path through Fountain Park. From a photo booth to caricatures to face-painting, there was constant opportunities for family friendly fun. The activies continued with a miniature golf course, a COSI science exhibition, a fish toss, and more, including the popular zip line and obstacle course.
Also at Fountain Park, the tradition of fundraising continued with booths from local churches and organizations doing fundraising, including the Boy Scouts group Pack 295, Piqua High School baseball, Piqua parishes, Mainstreet Piqua, and more. Christian Life Center was also selling snow cones as well as letting people know about their block party on July 9 from 3-9 p.m, which will be held at their church located at 8654 County Road 25-A in Piqua.
There was also a kid zone featuring a dunk tank and a pie-in-the-face booth, sponsored by Piqua United Penecostal Church.
“Once people saw (someone) getting pie in the face, everyone wanted to join in,” Paul Green of Piqua United Penecostal Church said.
Green took approximately 40 pies to the face over the course of the Fourth of July celebration, and he said he was happy to do so after seeing so many smiling faces. Green explained that they were also raising money to take their church’s youth to the Columbus Zoo on July 16.
The park’s Hance Pavilion featured entertainment by the Mountain Dulcimer Society of Dayton, Rum River Blend, and the Piqua Civic Band during the day.
In the evening, the celebration moved dowtown. Tim Wirth of WPTW Radio was the master of ceremonies for the evening entertainment, including opening act The Hired Guns and headliner The Coasters.
There were also food trucks from Susie’s Big Dipper and Tin Roof Mobile Food during the evening celebration.
Overall, there was no shortage of chances for fun, food, prizes, or entertainment to celebrate Independence Day in Piqua.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336