Festival Means Fellowship, Fun

NEW KNOXVILLE — The community of New Knoxville celebrated the holiday weekend with the 2011 Independence Day Celebration — a time for food, fellowship and fun.

Community Park was full of festivities from early Saturday morning to late Sunday night. Saturday kicked off with the beginning of the Woody A. Piehl Wooden Bat Softball Tournament. While local softball players were swinging away, other community members took part in the 5K walk/run. The top male finisher of the race was Todd Holbrook with a time of 16:06.2.  Terri Egbert, finishing in 21:31.5, led the women.

The Girl Scouts of New Knoxville sponsored the kids’ games tent, where children could purchase tickets to play games like Plinko and the Octi-Toss for a chance to win prizes.

“The Girl Scouts and usually their mothers help with the tent, but the girls do most of the work,” Kate Sewell told the Evening Leader.

The temperatures continued to rise through the day, so the refreshment stands became an oasis for thirsty festival-goers. With both the concession stand and the food tent, there was something for everyone. The Junior Class concession stands were run by the New Knoxville juniors as a fundraiser for next year’s after prom festivities. Students and the parents of junior class officers provided snacks and drinks as the softball tournament continued.

“The best thing about volunteering is just knowing that when we’re done, all the work is going to be worth it for after prom,” New Knoxville junior Lydia Felty said.

The food tent provided brats, soft pretzels, and other  items. Sponsored by the New Knoxville Community Park Association, proceeds from the tent go to the development of Community Park.

“All this goes back to all the community members who use the park,” said Darla Miller, co-director of the food tent.

A parade to mark the 175th anniversary of the village featured scores of participants, including Cub Scouts, law enforcement vehicles and a lawn mower drill team. The Earthquakers entertained festival attendees as Saturday came to a close.

Sunday brought an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast and a community-wide church service.

Robyn Arnett won Sunday afternoon’s pie baking competition with her “All American Deep Dish Apple Pie,” while a peach pie and a blueberry rhubarb pie came in a close second and third.

The New Knoxville Community Park raffle sold tickets all weekend. Few of the many prizes included a Keurig coffee pot, New Knoxville attire, two rounds of golf donated by Arrowhead and pizza for a year from Main Street Station. First prize for the cash raffle was $400.

All proceeds from the raffles go back into upkeep for the community and park.

“Even with the economy struggling, people are still willing to donate because it helps the park,” Matt Dwenger said. “It’s great to see how much people appreciate the atmosphere of the park.”

Little League baseball games could be seen all afternoon and Exploit took the stage later Sunday night. Bob Schroeder, lead singer of Exploit, kicked off the annual fireworks display after their show with the Star Spangled Banner.

Winners were drawn for the raffle prizes and cash after the fireworks and another year of the New Knoxville Independence Day came to a close as the scoreboard for all the softball games finally got a chance to turn off.