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Williamsport celebrates holiday

July 05, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

WILLIAMSPORT

A midday cloudburst dampened afternoon activities at Byron Memorial Park, but Williamsport officials had high hopes for the town's evening Independence Day events.

"It will probably be jam-packed if we don't get the rain," Councilman Earle R. Pereschuk Sr. said.

Williamsport's daylong celebration began with more than 400 people arriving for a pancake breakfast and more than 100 runners competing in the "Run For Freedom" 5K race, according to Councilman Jeffrey A. Cline.

"We tried to schedule things so people could come and go," he said. But the early rain had scattered participants in the "antique car cruise-in," scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. "One guy said it took four hours to detail his car," Cline said, and he didn't want to get it messed up.

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Tumblers from the 4-Star Athletic Gymnastic Club were undaunted, however, performing at various times during the afternoon.

"The kids are always excited to show off what they've learned," said 4-Star owner Nica Sutch.

And when they weren't tumbling, they were playing and eating, according to Melissa Carpenter, 9, of Maugansville, and Katie Frund, 11, of Shepherdstown, W.Va. They'd had cotton candy, sno-cones, "and a sub," Melissa said.

Alyssa Marker, 10, of Fairplay, had been busy all day - winning in her age group in the 5K race and then performing with the group. She and Katie were talking about getting together later.

Libby Ward and Larry Smith of Hagerstown brought 4-year-old Terence Ballinger and his 10-month-old brother, Savaji, to Williamsport for the planned kids' activities.

"I'm surprised nobody's down here," Ward said.

Thanks to the Williamsport Volunteer Fire Department, they treated themselves to some pretty fancy ice cream.

"It's been pretty busy off and on," said Amanda Spigler, 15, who traveled from Huyetts Crossroads to sell ice cream for the fire department. They'd been selling a lot of sno-balls and ice cream, she said, and the machines inside the trailer were keeping the workers "pretty cool."

Pereschuk said town officials were "expecting a big crowd at 5," when local band Spectrum was scheduled to play at one of the park's pavilions.

A program featuring Williamsport's Community Band and the honor guard from the 167th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard in Martinsburg, W.Va., preceded a fireworks show, said Councilman Nelson Deal.

"People are timing their backyard barbecues to come down here for the fireworks," Cline said. "It's all about neighbors, friends and families. That's what's great about America."

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