SANDWICH – Although the dry weather postponed Sandwich’s Fourth of July fireworks show, the city still hosted its annual holiday festivities Saturday and Sunday.
What was formerly known as Freedom Days, an annual Fourth of July festival held for at least the past 20 years, was a little different this year, said Sue Swithin, director of the Sandwich Park District. The committee that organizes the celebration decided not to put the festival together this year because of a lack of volunteers, so the park district took over.
“After years of doing it, there were not a lot of volunteers, and they got kind of burned out,” she said. “It will probably stay within the park district’s hands.”
Swithin said the park district took charge of the advertising for the groups who wanted to participate in the annual weekend festivities, and it also provided electricity to vendors and set up chairs for music events.
Saturday was hot, but people still came watched the 85 to 90 entries in the parade. And about 100 runners participated in the annual Freedom Tot Trot and 5K run Sunday morning, Gene Burd, 68, of Sandwich was among them.
“I started running in , but I haven’t run every [Freedom Days] race,” he said. “I’ve logged 17,600 miles since I started running.”
His wife, Janelle Burd, performed in Saturday’s Indian Valley Community Band concert. Although performers were in the shade and there was a nice breeze, she said, Saturday’s hot weather kept the band’s audience small.
The Burds have been celebrating Sandwich’s Fourth of July festivities for years, and their favorite aspect was the pancake breakfast Sunday held at the Sandwich Fire Department.
The breakfast was held by Cub Scout Pack 345 in Sandwich, and the 40 Cub Scouts in the pack worked in shifts from 7 a.m. to noon serving pancakes, sausage and a variety of drinks to more than 250 people who stopped in.
“It goes to the pack and helps pay for awards, events, equipment – all sorts of things,” said Chad Carlson, Cubmaster for Pack 345, of the proceeds.
Another highlight Sunday was the Custom Motorcycle Show hosted by Black Magic Customs in Sandwich. Co-owner Lynn Hoffman said the show usually draws 50 to 60 bike entries for the contest, which has categories for antique, custom and street bikes.
Sunday usually wraps the festival up with a fireworks show at the Sandwich Fairgrounds, but the dry conditions delayed the show. Swithin said she hopes they launch in August, and the park district is working out schedules with a band to find a good weekend.
With the park district likely taking over the Fourth of July celebration in Sandwich, Swithin said a new name for the festival is kicking around. The district also wants to move it to Milestone Park, where lots of improvements are under way.
She said once the improvements are complete, the park should have a main stage with a sound system, a skate park, a place for a beer garden and possibly a splash pad.