DARKE COUNTY – From the northern part to the southern part of Darke County there was a lot to celebrate over the Independence Day Holiday. Here is a recap of some of the events that took place.
NEW MADISON – “I’m the Pledge of Allegiance!” said Leah Lawrence. Her favorite toy is a gold fish named Goldie. She likes baseball and did the Pledge of Allegiance for an appreciative crowd… Later she yelled “mom, dad, I won, I won.” She was named New Madison’s Little Miss Firecracker 2014.
Jasen Godown was Uncle Sam and played the part by waving the American flag at every opportunity. He also recited the Pledge of Allegiance for an appreciative crowd, earning the title of Little Mr. Firecracker 2014 for his efforts.
Leah is four and the daughter of Scott and Lindsay Lawrence. Jasen is three and the son of Rob and Lori Godown. First runner-up Little Miss was Aubrey Eley, 4, daughter of Eric and Sarah Eley; second runner-up was Emylee Springer, 4, daughter of Sara Ditty and Rodney Springer. First runner-up Little Mister was Grady Thomas, 4, son of Adriane and Brian Thomas; second runner-up was Quinten Smith, 3, son of Josh and Justena Smith. All six rode in the Independence Day parade the next day, July 4.
MC Kami Hollinger had the challenge of interacting with 14 three-to-five-year-olds, most of whom presented themselves exactly as parents, grandparents and other family members had anticipated. Addie Pipenger did some tumbling, while Emylee, dressed in a fireworks display, told Hollinger she was the “Grand Finale.” Elizabeth Jesse’s pet was a puppy. “What’s its name?” Hollinger asked. “Puppy,” she answered. A couple of them froze, but Quinten provided some unexpected entertainment for the crowd…
He didn’t say a word. Dressed as a cowboy, he grinned as he put his lasso over Hollinger’s head; then put his hat on her head… then leaned on her shoulder. Grinning (without a word) the entire time.
“Not talking? Hollinger asked. Quinten shook his head. “Are you done?” Quinten nodded.
Other contestants in the 2014 Mr. & Miss Firecracker pageant were Kaley Brandon, Audrey Thomas, Kayla Washington, Raegan Hunt, Annabeck Spencer and Glori Mae Rausch.
Left to right: Second runner-up Little Miss Firecracker Emylee Springer, first runner-up Aubrey Eley, Little Miss Firecracker Leah Lawrence, Little Mr. Firecracker Jasen Godwon, first runner-up Grady Thomas and second runner-up Quinten Smith.
ANSONIA – Addison Geyer and Andy Miller were named Ansonia’s 2014 Little Miss & Mr. Red, White & Blue just before the annual Independence Day parade on July 4. Both were dressed for the occasion with red, white and blue costumes looking like Miss Liberty and Uncle Sam.
Addison, 5, the daughter of Michelle and Todd Geyer, told MC Kathy Cline she wanted to be a singer when she grew up. Andy, 6, the son of Scott and Shelley Miller, said he wanted to be a construction worker when he grew up.
“Oh?” Cline said. “And what do you want to build?” After only a slight pause, “what I’m supposed to build,” he answered.
Cline interviewed seven girls and five boys, ages three to six, for the title, eliciting a variety of interesting responses. One contestant didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up or what his favorite food was. One young lady simply wanted to be “big” when she grew up. Another wanted to be a unicorn while a third wanted to be a princess. And a young man wanted to be a Power Ranger… “Black?” No. “Pink.” No. “Green! It’s my favorite color.”
Contestants were graded on attire, the interview, voice volume and crowd response. Addison and Andy each received 56 out of 60 possible points.
The remaining contestants were Shyann McKenna, 4; Addison Smith, 3; Ava Gosnell, 5; Haddie Gilpin, 3; Karmella Simpson, 3; Lexi Brunner, 3; Brody Taylor, 5; Caleb Eubank, 5; Eli Gosnell, 3; and Jordan Hernandez, 4.
The 2014 Little Miss & Mr. Red, White & Blue are Addison Geyer and Andy Miller.
DARKE COUNTY – “Do you know what day this is?” Wednesday, Thursday, Friday! “Have you ever heard of Independence Day?” No! “Yes, you have,” his mom said. She added he was being grumpy… they had inadvertently arrived for the parade an hour early.
They weren’t the only ones arriving early to the Ansonia Independence Day parade. A mother across the street was blowing soap bubbles for three little ones to chase. A dad had settled into a good spot with daughters Katie, Tiffany and Stacey Stobel. They were happy to acknowledge the day was about celebrating the people who are fighting for America.
One young lady, Misty Wentworth, knew her history… the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, 238 years ago. “I love history,” she said. Want to be president some day? “I don’t want to be president!” Why not? “Too much work!” She wasn’t alone; Carson Swallow and Jaylynn Falkner also had the right answers but expressed little interest in becoming president.
Shelly Lynn Siders sang the National Anthem following the traditional 21-gun salute, then returned to her son, Devin Geyer, and family relative Celina Guthrie. Siders has been performing at the Ansonia Independence Day parade for years.
This year’s Ansonia Grand Marshall Dave Staver said earlier he was deeply honored but wasn’t real sure why he was chosen. He was pleased to report he’d just celebrated 50 years at Ansonia Lumber Co. Staver is a Boy Scout leader, American Legion and Ansonia United Methodist Church member, and a volunteer for the fire department.
“I don’t still fight fires,” he said, “but I do pretty good at directing traffic.”
Several hours later, adults and youngsters were waiting for the start of the New Madison Independence Day parade. One young man knew July 4 was special but wasn’t quite sure how… “It was the end of the war? No… it was the start of the war?” Brittany Brewer knew exactly the reason for the parade. Breanna McLear, however, didn’t care. She was 16 months old and running mom and dad ragged trying to keep up with her.
Relatively large audiences showed up for their respective parades on a comfortable sunny but slightly breezy day. County officials had their float, as did State Representative Jim Buchy, volunteer fire and EMS departments, local organizations and more. Many more.
Adults watched with interest; children watched with wonder… but mostly with a different objective: to go after the candy as it was tossed from the floats.
Kerstin Auske and Brooklyn Harnan showed off their “loot” after the parade was over. “We get candy all the time,” Kerstin said. “We don’t really need it.” Then will you share? “No!” She grinned, closed up her bag and got ready to leave.
Waiting for the parade to start… Kristin and Trinity Peas were “ready for the candy.”
This young man was being a gentleman for the young lady. They were taking a break from chasing the bubbles mom was using to keep them entertained until the parade started.