Williams celebrates July Fourth

WILLIAMS – It happens every year at this time. The quiet town of Williams, with a population of 350, explodes to more than 1,500 for the annual Fourth of July celebration.

Crowds gather for the morning parade and stay throughout the day. And the highlight of the celebration doesn’t even start until after dusk when fireworks light up the Northeastern Hamilton County sky.

Following the Williams American Legion Post 633’s Presenting the Colors, the day’s events officially begin with the parade.

This year, the Williams’ 62nd Fourth of July parade boasted over 75 entries and was hosted by Kim Schimp and Bruce Mark.

Leading off the parade were Grand Marshals Don D. and Joan Williams. Williams recently retired as commander of the Williams American Legion Post 633 and is now serving as the Williams Lions Club President. Joan Williams is a retired school teacher who taught at Northeast Hamilton Schools in Blairsburg.

Following the parade, the crowd worked its way over to the Williams City Park. The park celebration proves to be as popular as the parade. Games occupied the kids while parents and grandparents snapped photos.

Over at the new park shelter house, members of St. Paul Lutheran Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Williams Methodist Church are serving the growing line of hungry folks.

Jackie Tibbs is the pie master. She oversees that the more than 100 donated pies of all varieties are sliced into eight servings for the park afternoon crowd.

“This is just as much a tradition as the parade,” said one lady, patiently waiting in line.

Kitchen coordinator Rod Dagit couldn’t put an estimate on the number of people the churches serve throughout the day.

“I don’t know, except they just keep coming,” he joked.

Annually, the churches donate 1,000 hot dog buns and 1,100 hamburger buns, said Dagit. Nearly 500 pounds of hamburger meat is served for the walking tacos and loose meats, he estimated.

Recent NEH High School graduate Steven Smith is manning the beverage station. He estimated the crowd at the ring toss game alone will consume 200 cans of pop and more than 250 bottles of water before the fireworks fly.

While children play the carnival games or ride the miniature train, families are gathered on blankets spread on the ground where they can enjoy the day and one another. The symphony of voices lost in conversation, shouts or laughter don’t discourage an afternoon nap by either young or old.

Yes, this always happens this time of year in Williams, Iowa, USA.