It was s full day of activity at the annual Independence Day celebration in Eagle Point, July 4. Given the state of the economy, many are looking closer to home to find places for good entertainment at reasonable prices.
Eagle Point certainly fills the bill for quality, wholesome entertainment at reasonable prices. Beginning early in the morning of July 4, runners and walkers filled Main Street as they readied for either a one- or five-k run or walk. The more serious of these, burning up carbs and sweating to the beat of something only they can understand. While those dedicated runners pounded the pavement, the less devoted casually strolled down Main Street, across the bridge, turning south on Shasta before returning to the starting point.
The one-K runners were back before they could work up a sweat. And before long, all the runners/walkers had returned and were awarded a variety or prizes. Event organizer Bunny Lincoln, who was also parade grand marshal, handed out prizes to the winners.
Following the run, the streets began to fill and soon these people too, made their way across the bridge, but this time they went to the Grange for a breakfast served by the Boy Scouts. And it was a dandy with pancakes, sausage and eggs on the menu, with coffee or juice.
Shortly before the parade began, and as folks milled around the booths on Main Street, the Air Force loaned one of their jet fighters to Parade Organizer Susi Collins and even provided a pilot who raced east to west across the morning sky. Just as the crowd quieted from that event, emcees Leon Sherman and Stan Deupree began calling a beginning to the parade. Jackson County Commissioner John Rachor assisted the two at the mike.
The parade was a dandy. Cub Scout pack #48 took first place in individual children and the Eagle Point Cheerleaders group was first in Children’s with a very athletic display that drew applause from the large crowd. Bill Gilman brought his 1965 Pickup, earning him top honors in the specialty class and Curtis Huntley Plumbing held on for the top spot in the class with a 1955 International fire truck.
St. John’s Lutheran was first in the church/church school category and the Early Days Gas Engine and Tractor Club was first in the Tractor division. The highlight of the parade, for many, was the “Big Brown Candy Company” complete with two brain surgeons scooping up after the three amigos who were riding wild mustangs adopted through a BLM program.
The Eagle Point Women’s Club showed a great deal of artistic ability by creating a float with the Harnish Wayside Visitor’s Center, the covered bridge and Mt. McLaughlin. The Military Masons, a group of veterans that also happen to be Masons, took first place in the non-commercial grouping. Southern Oregon Military Vehicles Collectors Club earned top spot in the car clubs, Aaron’s of Medford was tops in their category as were Positively Eagle Point and Kyle Kellog in his 1985 El Camino.
Of course, the fireworks were the final event of the day, held at the high school football field. Leon Sherman called the action while Mr. Ricci serenaded fans as darkness crept over the stadium. Halftime saw four skydivers descend and land on the football turf to pick up a plate with the name of a lucky winner of up to $500.
At times, there were so many competing fireworks outside the stadium, making it difficult to hear the P. A. system, but the finale wasn’t about hearing, it was about seeing the rockets’ red glare. And also the white, red and blue of the aerial barrage and the ground displays.
It was a fourth of July celebration of Independence Day as only small town America can do. One that will be remembered—at least until the next one.