The Ripley Lions Club held its annual Fourth of July weekend festival, which brought hundreds and perhaps thousands of residents to the Ripley park and businesses along Front Street.
“We’d consider it a successful festival because we had a lot of weather to contend with this year,” incoming Ripley Lions Club Secretary Dan Price said.
Despite on and off rain, the festival was able to go on with few problems. The boat parade was called off due to rain, but otherwise, most other events went on as scheduled.
Festivities began last Thursday, with a chili cook-off in the evening. The winner of the cook-off was Lynn Kattwinkel of Liberty Township in Adams County. Second place went to Gracie Blackburn of Ripley and third place went to Jamie Brierly, also of Ripley.
Last Friday, the day’s activities began with a fishing tournament for kids under 15 years old. The winner of the fishing contest was Ripley’s Darvae Plymesser. Second place went to Reggie Taylor of Ripley.
Ruby Hardymon of Ripley next won best in show in the pie and cake contest.
Sixteen children then participated in the bicycle decorating contest, with all of them coming home with a prize.
The baby show had more than 60 participants with 14 categories for prizes.
On Friday evening, the Inside Out band played for the festival’s attendees.
Last Saturday, the day’s festivities began with another fishing tournament, won by 18-year-old Ripley native Colton Brierly.
Later in the day, the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington varsity cheerleading squad sponsored a color run, which had more than 50 participants. Blake Price of Ripley won first place in the men’s category and Elli Cochran of Springfield won first place in the female category.
There were also frog jumping and turtle racing competitions for children. Mike Polley of Ripley won the frog jumping competition and Oaklynn Benjamin of Ripley won the turtle race.
Donnie Mosely provided the entertainment for visitors on Saturday evening, and later that night, the Lion’s Club raffled off a television, a gas grill and many other prizes. Price confirmed that the Lion’s Club had raised $2,500 through the raffle and may have raised a similar amount through their vendors.
Lion’s Club member Kristel Salisbury-Titus said, though, that it costs $7,000 to put on the fireworks show, and the Lion’s Club needs the community’s support now more than ever, with businesses leaving town every year.
Price wanted to thank the community for continuing to support the Fourth of July festival.
“The Lion’s Club would like to thank the community and surrounding communities for all their donations and support for the festival and fireworks to make it all possible,” Price said.
The festivities were capped off with a fireworks show, with thousands lining up along Front Street in Ripley and others sitting on the hill to watch the rocket’s red glare.
Reach Daniel Karell at 937-378-6161 or on Twitter @GNDKarell.