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Hundreds turn out for Vader Fourth of July show

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A fireworks display lasting more than half an hour polished off Vader’s Fourth of July celebration on Friday, which had been proudly put together entirely by local donations and volunteers.

More than 300 people gathered in Vader on Friday for their fourth annual Independence Day community celebration.

Organized and supported entirely by community volunteers, the celebration included a parade, vendors, kids games and culminated in a fireworks show lasting more than 30 minutes.

“This is the way old hometown is supposed to be like,” said organizer Reggie Smith, noting how community members got together and raised close to $3,000 for the event, with help from business such as Brosey’s Hardware, of Winlock, who helped monetarily, and Spotlight Sensations, of Kelso, who contributed costumes for the parade.

Smith himself was given an award after the parade for the Most Patriotic entry, while Navy Veteran and City Councilor Andy Wilson was awarded Most Consistent for his leadership of the parade, and resident Claudia Krohn was awarded Most Creative for her flamingo-themed entry.

Also awarded were three first-place seed-spitters in Mayor Ken Smith’s seed-spitting contest: Mason Smith, in the 12 and under kid category, Andrew Parks, in the 13-18 teen category, and Eric Contreras, in the 19 and older adult category.

After a performance of the national anthem by local 8-year-old Isabel Graginski, more than half-an-hour worth of fireworks were set off, overseen by Smith, who noted the show was considerably longer than the display at Longview’s show at Lake Sakagawea, which had been scheduled only for 22 minutes.

“I’ve always loved to have large firework displays,” he said, noting he was grateful to members of the Vader City Council for their allowing the event to be covered by the city’s insurance.

Planning for the fifth community Fourth of July celebration has already begun, and those interested in helping out can call organizer Judy Costello at (360) 295-3036.

Navy veteran Andy Wilson (foreground, left) leads a lawnmower parade to kick off the day.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and a few Sesame Street characters took part in the parade, in costumes provided by Spotlight Sensations, of Kelso.

A watermelon feed was provided free of charge by Mayor Ken Smith.

Participants young and old took part in the seed-spitting contest, seeing who could propel a cherry pit the furthest.

The Randy Band (background) set feet to dancing with rousing renditions of classic rock tunes.

Eight-year-old Isabel Graginski sings the national anthem prior to the start of the fireworks display.

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