Out with a bang they went

Annabelle Treon, 5, tries to sink Shayne Price at the Piqua Pentecostal Youth Department dunk tank at the Piqua Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, July 4. Jason Hutton (right) supervises the booth.

Amanda Saunders (left) with four month old Abel Saunders at the Plinko booth at the Piqua Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, July 4.

PIQUA — Glowing sticks and wands were no match for the sky Saturday and Sunday night. Children abandoned them and their sparklers, curling their fingers in the fence at Fountain Park as they stared up at sky when the fireworks shows finally began.

Piqua’s Fourth of July celebration filled Fountain Park with laughter, fun, and food during the day and the sky with fireworks during the night on both Saturday and Sunday. The two-day festival was a first for Piqua, honoring the final time that the Piqua Fourth of July Association was hosting the city’s fireworks display for Independence Day. Next year, the city of Piqua will be taking over the Fourth of July fireworks.

Walking into the festival from any direction, attendees were greeted by attractions and a variety of food vendors. Boomer’s Magic Circus of the Gorham Family Amusements offered an obstacle course across from a spinning ride and the Jungle Island petting zoo. Face-painting, Pepsi bottle toss, a baseball-throwing booth, and a dunk tank were popular booths among guests.

“I think it’s doing wonderful,” Diane Miller, president of the Piqua Fourth of July Association, said Saturday. “Got beautiful weather, beautiful turnout so far.”

Back in May, Al Fledderman, treasurer of the Piqua Fourth of July Association, explained that the Piqua Fourth of July Association had difficulty finding volunteers and finding other residents to take part in running the organization. With Fledderman retiring and a lack of interest in the group, the Piqua Fourth of July Association will be handing over the reins of Fourth of July fireworks to the city after over 40 years of service to the city.

“I just hate that it’s over,” Miller said. Miller said that the responses she has heard from the community about the end of the Piqua Fourth of July Association have been understanding. Some people, though, have been concerned if the city will be able to do it, Miller said.

“From what I’ve talked to the city, they can do it,” Miller said. “And I’m glad.” The fireworks are expected to be held downtown on the riverfront in 2016.

“We just wanted to go out special,” Miller said.

“It’s sad that it’s the last time it’s going to be here,” Vivian Lee of Piqua’s Cyrene A.M.E. Church said on Saturday. Lee was serving with the Reverends Stephanie Ranson-Kelley and Kenneth Kelley and other members of their church, selling Walking Tacos at the Fourth of July Celebration. “When I was growing up as a kid, this is where you went,” Lee said.

Lee said that Cyrene A.M.E. Church has come back this year after an absence, and they were getting themselves reintroduced in the community at the Fourth of July Association.

“We have just come back home,” Lee said about Cyrene A.M.E. Church, calling Cyrene “the little miracle church on the corner of Ash and Downing.”

“We exist, we’re here, we’re not going anywhere,” Lee said. Lee said that while it is sad that the Piqua Fourth of July Association is ending and the details of the future fireworks displays for Piqua are still being discussed, Cyrene plans to be there and to stay connected with the community.

Cyrene A.M.E. Church was among other non-profit groups at the Fourth of July Celebration selling food, including Lockington United Methodist Church, Piqua Apostolic Church and Christian School, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Piqua Apostolic Church, the Miami and Shelby Counties Young Life, and more.