BY SHERI TRUSTY
Port Clinton knows how to throw an Independence Party!
From early morning to long after dusk, July 4th was filled with events for all ages. The day kicked off with the Star Spangled Squirt Gun 5K hosted by the Port Clinton Women’s Club and ended with a elaborate fireworks display over Lake Erie.
The 5K competitors were greeted with water attacks from friends and family as they neared the finish line. Top winners were Jack Hautz of Cleveland with a time of 15:46 and Amy Simpson of Manassas, Va., with a time of 25:20. Proceeds from the race benefited the Port Clinton Women’s Club Scholarship Fund.
After the race, cuties and beauties of all ages competed in the annual Firecracker Cutie Contest held at Trinity United Methodist Church (UMC). Among the competitors were Port Clinton sisters, 21-month-old Paisley Fry and 9-month-old Olivia Fry. This was Paisley’s second contest and Olivia’s first.
“We do this just for fun,” said their mother, Bailey Wells. “Paisley was still little at last year’s contest, so I decided to come back when she has a little more personality.”
Competitors traveled from across Northwest Ohio for the competition.
“This year our contest had 22 wonderful contestants and 35 incredible photogenic entries,” said Contest Director Heather Schenck. “The judges were so impressed by all the beautiful patriotic outfits and the kindness and grace our top six winners showed.”
The day’s festivities also included the Red, White and Blue classic car, truck and cycle show and an ice cream social hosted by Ottawa County Senior Resources and funded by Crosser-Priesman Funeral Homes. Ottawa County Commissioners Donald Douglas and Mark Stahl spent the afternoon serving the ice cream. Donations from the ice cream social helped fund Port Clinton fireworks.
Director D. Gregory Fox drew a packed crowd to Trinity UMC for his annual Voices of Freedom concert performed by the Port Clinton Community Choir. Among the spectators was Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Toledo.
“The Voices of Freedom concert was exquisite,” said Kaptur. “The inspiring performance beautifully serves to educate about the price of liberty and the value of unselfish patriotism. What a fine tribute they paid to America and our awesome responsibility to liberty not just for today, but for the tomorrows to come.”
After the concert, another crowd gathered at Derby Pond in Waterworks Park to cheer the rubber duckies in the Incredible Rubber Duck Race, a major fundraiser for United Way of Ottawa County. First and second place winners, Tina Hablitzel and Ed Carlson respectively, each donated their winnings back to United Way.
Port Clinton Radio hosted a family dance party at Waterworks Park in the evening. The festivities ended with a stunning fireworks display attended by thousands of spectators who watched from Waterworks Park and Port Clinton City Beach.