Temperatures may have reached the mid-90s on Sunday, but that didn’t stop a large crowd from turning out for an early Fourth of July celebration.
Hosted at Hogan-Ennis Park adjacent to the city’s Community Center on July 2, the gathering was sponsored by the Escalon Covenant Church and was open to all in the community.
Along with music, bounce houses, face painting and other games, there was a barbecue dinner – offered at just $3 per person (maximum $10 cost per family) – and the evening concluded with a demonstration of the Safe and Sane Fireworks.
Diners started lining up when the festivities began at 5 p.m. and the celebration lasted for several hours, wrapping up around 10 p.m.
“This is actually our first time here,” said Laramie Blevins of Escalon. “We just became members of the church, this is pretty cool, it’s awesome.”
Volunteers were stationed throughout the park, grilling burgers, serving up beans, slicing watermelon, overseeing the inflatables for the kids and more.
“I like going on the trampoline,” six-year-old Esteban Diaz said of enjoying the bounce house and an inflatable obstacle course.
Children’s Ministry Director Jaci Kennedy of Escalon Covenant was working a shift doing face painting and was excited to be a part of the fun.
“It’s neat to be able to do this, it’s a great way to get the community involved,” she said.
The Rigg family was once again handling the grilling duties and a steady stream of diners made sure they didn’t get much time away from the grill.
Stacie Tyson attended with her children and said it was the first time they’ve come; they live in Waterford but her parents attend the local church and they enjoyed the day.
Transitional pastor Ed Blake arrived in Escalon to serve at Escalon Covenant just over a week ago and was pleased to see the church sharing the celebration with the community as a whole.
“This reminds me of growing up in Tracy, I love the atmosphere,” Blake said of the community gathering. “Things like this are becoming more and more rare.”
Which made it all the more special for the church to sponsor the July 4 celebration and made church officials happy with the large turnout of local residents.