Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 23, 2018

A booming Fourth of July

Hundreds gather at McMillan Park for fireworks, parade
Jul 05, 2018
Photo by: Grace King Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee passed out sticker badges following the Fourth of July parade in McMillan Park Wednesday.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Food, friends and fireworks brought people to McMillan Park for Mt. Pleasant’s Fourth of July celebration, kicking off the festivities with a parade on Wednesday, July 4.

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office led the charge for the parade, tossing candy out the window of their vehicles as kids and parents lined the road that runs through McMillan Park. Motorcycles, tractors, dancers and other emergency vehicles followed.

One firetruck, painted bright pink, traveled all the way from Rock Falls, Ill. to take part in Mt. Pleasant’s Fourth of July parade Wednesday. Pink Heals, Sauk Valley Chapter, brought their firetruck upon request to Mt. Pleasant for the first time this year, partnering with the local fire station to show love and support for individuals going through diseases.

“Wherever we go, people see these names and stories on this firetruck,” said Elizabeth Tribley with Pink Heals, pointing out that each person the chapter visits has the opportunity to sign the pink firetruck.

Following the parade, people returned to their tents parked across McMillan Park to start up the grills and continue the festivities.

Terry Jerrel has been reserving the same spot at McMillan Park for fireworks for the past decade. Calling himself a “homie,” Jerrel’s love for the Mt. Pleasant community is what brings him out each year to support the local celebration.

Jerrel, along with many others who ventured out in the heat Wednesday hours before fireworks began, sat under a tent with a picnic spread and his own personal grill at his disposal. As a retired veteran and now with a son who is a disabled veteran, Jerrel said he and his family are “big into patriotism.”

“We’re big into our Fourth of July,” Jerrel’s wife Kim Jerrel added.

Erica Martin’s clan also had quite the Fourth of July picnic. Two long tables were weighed down with all the holiday classics enough for the 25 guests Martin was expecting.

“We’re hoping to set the record,” Martha Settles said as she helped Martin set the table. This is the fifth year Martin has organized the gathering for family and friends on the Fourth of July, some traveling all the way from Iowa City and Richland.

Martin said there’s something for everyone at McMillan Park, and it is where she was born and raised watching fireworks. From tractor rides, inflatable bouncy houses, face painting, corn hole and room to toss a football, there was never a dull moment as people waited for the sun to set.

Other McMillan Park Fourth of July goers like Brandon Septer come to Mt. Pleasant’s fireworks show because “Mt. Pleasant is better.” Septer, of Burlington, was cooking hot dogs, brats and hamburgers for three generations sitting in the shade of his tent. Every year, the group arrives around 3 p.m., taking advantage of the open space and the relaxing atmosphere of the day.

Leon and Sherri Bousselot, who were with Septer Wednesday, came all the way down from Davenport to soak up the family time and the fireworks. “We gave up the air conditioning,” Leon said cheekily.

Linn Conrad relaxed with a cold drink in his hand as he awaited the fireworks to begin. A long time ago he used to help set them off, he said. Now, he just gets to watch and enjoy.

“Everybody puts in a lot of hours (during the week),” Conrad said of his busy work life. “The Fourth of July is a good time for family.”

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