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Lincoln throws a party

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Lincoln will celebrate the Forth of July in what City Councilman Tom Cosgrove called “the quintessential small-town celebration.” The day will kick off with a pancake breakfast at McBean Park at 7 a.m., followed by the annual Fourth of July parade at 9 a.m. After that, at McBean Park will be the scene of an all-day festival, featuring a kids’ zone, beer garden and food vendors. Capping the night, however, will be a fireworks display starting at about 9:30. “The idea is to get people interested in the Fourth of July so they can enjoy it and stay for a while,” Cosgrove said. “Our older residents are used to coming downtown, and we encourage some of the newer folks to come down, see the parade, have a day in the park and enjoy the fireworks afterward.” The annual parade is being put on by the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce and will feature about 45 floats, said Parade Coordinator Ruth Alves. “We always have an assortment of floats,” Alves said, adding that the Lincoln High School Marching Band will participate for the first time in about 15 years, providing even more excitement. Also in the parade will be numerous horses and kids. “It’s just so much fun to see the smiles on everyone’s faces,” Alves said. For Alves, the best part of the parade is “the hustle and bustle and all the excitement.” About 3,000 residents are expected to watch the parade, which travels through downtown and ends at McBean Park, according to Alves, who has been organizing the event for the past 13 years. “We get great volunteers,” Alves said. “We have to have them to make it happen. This parade is the signature event for the city of Lincoln.” The festivities at McBean Park will feature inflatable slides and play equipment for kids, rock-climbing walls, a petting zoo and pony rides, said Mandy Walker, director of Parks and Recreation. Attractions in the kid zone will cost $1 each, but wristbands can be purchased for unlimited access, Walker said. For $9, kids can experience all the attractions except the rock-climbing wall. For all attractions, the cost will be $15. The Lincoln Rotary Club will be at the park, selling tri-tip sandwiches and beer, as well as tickets for the upcoming “Cow Chip Bingo” – a fundraiser for Lincoln’s youth, according to Vic Freeman. For $5 per ticket – with discounts for multiple tickets available – residents can “own” a square on the baseball field at McBean Park. July 25, a cow will be let out to graze on the field, and wherever that cow…makes a chip…the owner of the square will receive $2,500. In case the cow’s digestive tract doesn’t cooperate, a ribbon will be tied around one leg, and whichever square that leg is in at noon will be the winner. “Play cow chip bingo with a real cow…no bull,” Freeman said. The Fourth of July parade and the following celebration is one of the oldest American traditions, Alves said, producing a quote from John Adams in a letter he wrote to his wife in 1776. “It ought to be celebrated with pomp and circumstance and parades, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other forevermore,” Adams wrote. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at brandond@goldcountrymedia.com.