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Family Fun For Fourth
For the fourth year, Escalon Covenant Church hosted a community Fourth of July party, this one offered up on Sunday, July 1 at Hogan Park, adjacent to the Escalon Community Center.

Festivities ran from 5 p.m. to about 10 p.m. on Sunday and the event was open to all local residents, with a meal, games, activities for the kids and a fireworks display all on the agenda.

Pastor Joel Dorman of Escalon Covenant said the celebration is designed to bring the community together.

"My first day was July 1 last year so my first event with the church was this one," Dorman said of marking his first anniversary at Escalon Covenant. "It was hot, 100-something so this year, we couldn't have asked for a better day."

Temperatures that stayed well below the century mark this year, combined with a light breeze and bright sunshine, made for a picture perfect day.

"This is just a fun event for the family," Dorman said. "We want to give them a place to celebrate in a safe environment."

Escalon Covenant underwrites the bulk of the festivities, though there were also some significant community donations, including a family providing all the meat used in the barbecue dinner. There was a suggested donation per person to attend the festivities but Dorman said it was not a requirement to pay to enjoy the meal and various activities.

A special invitation was issued to all local emergency services personnel to attend, with some local on-duty firefighters attending the dinner in uniform. Dorman said they hoped to see many of the local police, firefighters and ambulance personnel among the guests.

"It's our way of saying 'thanks' for all they do for all of us in the community, and it means a lot to us when they can make it," Dorman said.

Manning the barbecue grill at the park were members of the Rigg family, dad Lee and sons Keith and Rob.

"This is a way to expose the Covenant Church to the community and we invited everybody to the church," dad Lee Rigg said, noting that he also was happy to help with preparing the meal. "It's fun, it's a way of giving back and we enjoy doing it."

Resident and church member Karen Skelly was helping with the popcorn machine, which had a line of takers, as did the sno cone machine.

"I enjoy the fellowship," Skelly said of turning out for the July 4 celebration. "We're spreading God's love. It brings people together, there's not a better time to do it than our Independence Day."

Though hosted by Escalon Covenant, all community members were welcome to attend and the park was busy with a volleyball game, horseshoes, kids enjoying a bounce house and a giant inflatable slide, music provided by the DJ service, All In The Details, and organized games of sack races, hula hoop contests and a water balloon toss.

Cutting up the watermelon for dinner was Eric Leer, who was getting ready for the line of diners, and happy to be on hand to help out. Nearby, young cousins Colton Bryan, 8, and Nick Nussbaur, 10, were on their second sno cone of the day.

"I like the bouncy house, and the sno cones," said Bryan.

"The sno cones," agreed Nussbaur of his favorite. "I got all three flavors mixed."

Morgan Silveira, who had young daughter Olivia Russell, 5, with her, said the day was an enjoyable one.

"I just like being out with the family," she said.