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Nation’s birthday draws big crowd to Othello

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | July 10, 2024 3:00 AM

OTHELLO — It was a good day for a birthday party.

Othello residents and visitors turned out for the parade and filled Lions Park for the annual July 4 celebration — games, a car show, sports tournaments, food, live music, fireworks — sponsored by the Othello Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber President Heather Miller said she was pleased with the turnout; there was enough going on that events spilled out of Lions Park and onto the field at Hiawatha Elementary. The organizers added a children’s soccer tournament, some games for all ages and more food vendors with different options.

“We had vendors that were so excited to be here this year,” Miller said.

Live music filled the afternoon, and the first act on stage was an all-girl band from Othello’s Bethel Assembly of God Church. Pastor Sam Garza said the seven girls came up with the idea themselves and have been playing together for a couple of months. They performed on the church’s float during the parade, one of many entries that rolled and walked down Main Street.

“We always have a great turnout for the parade,” Miller said. 

Participants ranged from babies in strollers to a crew from Coventry House Assisted Living, families, dance groups, businesses, organizations and Othello cheerleaders. 

The new Iron Horse Playground was filled with children, the bouncy houses were busy, the soccer tournament drew a crowd to the fields at Hiawatha Elementary. Miller said entries for the volleyball tournament were down, and there were fewer entries in the car show. The car owners made up for it in enthusiasm.

Michael Westcott likes his 2014 Dodge so much he had the make and model tattooed on his arm in tribute. The car was one of 2,000 made in commemoration of the company’s 100th anniversary; he has number 187 of the production run, and added that to the tattoo. 

“I love to talk about it,” he said, as he displayed a bill of sale customized with his name.

Tony Bell said he bought his 1930 Ford Model A street rod at an estate sale. He bid just over the minimum, but his wife, Denise Bell, said she threw in another $150 or so and that got them the car. 

They were out shopping when the news came, she said, and it came as a shock.

“We were so excited we were telling the guy standing next to us,” she said. “He probably thought we were crazy.”

Tony Bell said that got him interested in collecting cars — that, and the fact he’s close to the fifth anniversary of successful cancer treatment. 

“I’m almost to the finish line,” he said, and the Model A and its companions are ways to celebrate.

“It’s been fun,” Denise said, and Tony said it’s cool to drive down the street.

“I get a lot of smiles,” he said. “That’s what I like.”

The car show did have a people’s choice trophy, and Tony noticed some people examining the red Model A. 

“Vote for the red one,” he said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

    Staff and residents of Coventry House Assisted Living in Othello wave to the crowd during the July 4 parade.
 
 
    Members of the Kent family fill a float in the July 4 parade in Othello.
 
 
    A group of Othello softball players who walked in the July 4 parade brought along a friend for company.
 
 
    The bouncy houses in Lions Park were busy July 4 afternoon.
 
 
    Car enthusiasts look at, and snap a few photos of, the entries in the July 4 car show in Othello.