Escalon’s Hogan-Ennis Community Center Park and Pavilion was the setting on Sunday evening, July 1, for a fun Fourth of July holiday party for all in the community.
Hosted by the nearby Escalon Covenant Church, the Independence Day celebration has been put on by the church for several years with the exception of a one-year hiatus a few years ago. But for 2018, they were back in full force, braving the near triple digit heat late Sunday afternoon to fire up the grill, set up the face painting station, offer bounce houses for the kids and play music to help entertain the crowd.
“I like the bounce houses and the hot dogs,” said nine-year-old Justice Bryant of Escalon.
Covenant Church member Curt Russell said they typically plan for 500 people to turn out, with a low cost meal offered in addition to the entertainment and wrapping up the evening with the ‘Safe and Sane’ fireworks show.
“It’s a good community event,” added church staff member Marion Van Vliet. “People love to hang out.”
Among those ‘hanging out’ was Jose Hernandez and his daughter Jadalynn. Dad Jose had a newspaper clipping, taken from a past issue of The Times, of himself and Jadalynn when she was less than a year old, attending her first July 4 celebration.
“She’s four now,” he said, as they stopped at the face painting table to recreate the designs on their faces shown in that earlier photo.
Meanwhile, Ken DeVecchio and Keith Rigg were manning the grill, cooking up the hamburgers and hot dogs and a crew of volunteers was working the ‘chow line’ serving up everything from chili beans to chips to watermelon. There were also sno cones for everyone to enjoy.
Dan Applegate, a member of the worship team at Escalon Covenant, had his guitar out and performed a number of songs while the crowd dined and additional music was offered later on in the evening. The fireworks show is typically hosted around 8:30 p.m., when it’s dark enough to enjoy the display.
“We thought, let’s just go and enjoy the moment,” said Kristi Salazar, attending with her family. “We even left the cell phones at home.”