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But the more intense thunderstorm that came through on Sunday evening created a little more concern for folks at the Celebrate America event at Highway Church of the Nazarene.
With two of the community’s big events over, one remains at Squires this weekend.
The 28th annual Squires Picnic Celebration will be held on Saturday night, July 3, beginning at 5 o’clock on the grounds of the Squires Fire Department. Squires is located eight miles south of Ava on Highway 5.
Saturday night’s program will include live music, drawings for free prizes, kids’ games, and of course, fireworks to conclude the event.
Live performers will include Rolla Swofford, Spring Creek, Heritage Singers and Hunter Creek.
There will be food stands offering burgers and hot dogs, homemade ice cream, nachos, soda, popcorn, cotton candy and a cake walk.
Heart of the Ozarks reported perhaps one of the largest crowds ever on Friday night, as folks began arriving hours before the stated starting time of 6 o’clock. By 7:30 all the parking areas around the nursing home were filled and the shuttle parking lot at the bottom of the hill was filling up.
A revised layout for the big fireworks display presented by Chris Davis of Lantis Fireworks and Lasers required a change in the parking structure at the facility. Most said they liked the new layout and indicated the parking was more accommodating.
Looking ahead to next year, arrangements are already being made to utilize other available areas for additional parking.
A huge crowd gathered at Highway Church of the Nazarene Sunday evening for the annual Celebrate America program, despite threatening weather that would eventually cut the program short.
Most of the activities went on as planned, but rain and lightning forced the cancellation of the concert by the Calvarymen.
The church has indicated it will reschedule the popular southern gospel group from the Hartville area this summer.
Skydiver Terry Wendt, of Rogersville, made his arrival on schedule at 7 o’clock, although he had to start his descent well below the preferred altitude of 6,000 feet.
When the rains came, folks huddled under the available tents or sought shelter inside the church.
Davis, who also provides the spectacular fireworks for the church program, had started setting up in the early afternoon and was ready to fire well before the storm moved in.
Folks were told the fireworks would go when the storm passed, and hundreds stayed around to see the spectacular display which went off without a hitch, although the choreographed music and accompanying video were scrubbed.
Pastor Mark Hatcher said, “I couldn’t be more proud of our Highway Nazarene family or more grateful to all of our special guests who braved the elements during our annual Celebrate America event.”
Although the program had to be altered because of severe weather, it was a great night of celebration with all those who came from several counties, and even out of state, he said.
“Even though conditions beyond our control cut short many favorites of Celebrate America, it was without question a great success,” Pastor Hatcher said. “Any time you have the opportunity to celebrate, honor and pay tribute to those – past and present – who have made our freedoms a reality, it’s well worth it.”