Independence Day celebrated in grand style in Onaway

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
A hometown parade and stunning fireworks were once again the anchors of Onaway’s best Fourth in the North celebration.
Onaway Community Chamber of Commerce president Kamron Oberlin believes the annual event went extremely well. He said there was a great turnout for the parade and the fireworks were shot off without any issues.
“I think things went very smoothly,” said Oberlin. “Big props to the fire department for helping set up the parade. They do it every year.” There were two stands with singers and announcers along the route.
“I thought they all did a great job,” he said. “We have some really good volunteers and that definitely helped us.”
“I thought it was fantastic,” said board secretary Yolanda Romel. “I was very excited to have the floats. The people that put them together put a lot of time into it.”
Metal sculpture artist Tom Moran of Moran Iron Works unveiled a bust of Onaway city founder Merritt Chandler that will more than likely go down as one of his best likenesses ever.
“It was beautiful and will be a great contribution to our little community as our founding father,” said Romel.
At the head of the parade was grand marshal Clark Chapman, who had a memorable couple of days in his life.
“Along with a surprise 70th birthday party on Friday, this was the best Fourth of July ever. I was surprised to see how many kids lined the street from start to finish. I ran out of candy before the end.”
Chapman received the honor for his decade-long involvement with Onaway Little League. He was the third member of his family to lead a parade.
There were 50 vendors for the Dancing Hippo Arts and Crafts Show.
“Everything went well,” said Kelli Stockwell, Onaway city manager, who organizes the event on the front lawn of the Onaway Historical Courthouse Building. “The vendors seemed happy and want the same spots they were in this year. We are looking forward to next year since it will be the 50th anniversary of the Dancing Hippo Art Show.” The proceeds go to the Onaway Museum to help with the
restoration of the Lobdell office building.
Oberlin gave kudos to Awaken Federal Credit Union for coordinating the kids’ games on Maxon Field early in the day and John Palmer for the job he did to ensure a great fireworks show, as well as the safety of all involved.
“Everything went well behind the scenes,” said Oberlin. “I thought it was a great show. It seemed like a lot of people were watching. The Onaway Speedway opened their parking lot and had a lot of people park at the church and M-33.”
Oberlin wanted to make sure the Fourth of July Fireworks committee received plenty of recognition, too.
“They are doing a phenomenal job raising money,” said Oberlin. “Typically, we had people walk through the parade and collect money. We did not have to do that this year. We had enough money because of all they did.”
George C. Garms Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5857 sold all of its 700 barbecue chicken dinners, as well as 475 tickets for the four-wheeler raffle. St. Paul Catholic Church was right on par with 2018 as they served 250 for the giant salad bar.
The chamber’s next big event is the car show next month and it has been moved back to Chandler Park.