The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were committed rebels. On Friday, Douglas County will celebrate that rebellion with the help of committed volunteers.
The county’s several Fourth of July events largely rely on a handful of people, who spend hundreds of hours and raise thousands of dollars to put on star-spangled bashes.
Winston, Roseburg, Riddle, Yoncalla and Sutherlin will have events to mark the holiday. Organizers say the festivals are labors of love, and they’re eager to share the love and labor.
“It’s just too hard for four or five people to run a $30,000 festival,” said Joyce Collins, chairwoman of the three-day Riddle Sawdust Jubilee. “If we don’t get the help, we may just have to make it a one-day event.”
For this year, the Sawdust Jubilee and other festivals are mostly intact, with even some new things to celebrate.
The Evening branch of the Sutherlin Lions Club will host a community picnic at Central Park for the first time. Also, Winston has restored its Independence Day parade after a one-year break.
Douglas County residents will be able to choose from many fireworks shows, including one in Winston that organizer Jack Holland promises will be “spectacularly awesome.”
“The Fourth of July means a lot,” Holland said. “This is America’s birthday.”
Here is a roundup of Fourth of July celebrations:
Riddle hosts the most extended celebration, which includes several unusual contests.
The jubilee kicks off with a spaghetti feed from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Riddle Community Center. Adults eat for $6, while children 12 and younger eat for $4.
The festivities really get going Thursday.
The Riddle Fire Department parking lot, just off Main Street, will be the center of activity. Food and craft booths will open at 10 a.m. At noon, there will be free preview of the next day’s classic car show.
At 1 p.m., Chihuahuas and other breeds will race. Pet owners are allowed to encourage their pets. “It was really hilarious last year. I think the adults were more fun than the dogs,” Collins said.
At 3 p.m., children ages 3 to 6 will compete in the Mr. Muscle and Miss Itty Bitty contests.
A talent show will start at 5 p.m. There will be divisions for adults and teens. It’s free to enter. Contestants can register on the day of the show.
Between 7 and 10 p.m., Mike’s Mobile DJ will play music for a street dance.
Friday starts early, with a breakfast at the community center. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children 12 and younger.
At the breakfast, classic car enthusiasts can register for the car show, which will begin at noon.
At 10 a.m., outhouses will be good to go for a race.
The parade starts at 11 a.m. at Riddle Elementary School.
One car will win the Redneck prize. Past contestants in this division have adorned their low-brow riders with hay, beer cans and deer horns. In response to one entry, Collins outlawed girlie magazines.
“ I had to revamp the rules to say ‘no nudity,’” she said.
Cribbage players will gather at 2 p.m. at City Hall.
The Eddy Ross Band will play at 7 p.m. at the high school football field.
At 10 p.m., organizers will shoot off $17,000 worth of fireworks. “The grand finale is going to be huge this year,” Collins said.
Collins said the community opens its collective wallet to generously support the Riddle Sawdust Jubilee.
Besides the festival, the jubilee funds a $500 scholarship, donates to Lions Club hearing and sight charities, contributes to a food bank and buys school supplies.
Still, the jubilee has had to scale back some, dropping from this year’s lineup pro wrestling, a popular attraction for the previous two years.
“We just don’t have enough people to help us,” Collins said. “If we had more people, we could actually do really well with this festival.”
A fireworks show at Yoncalla High School will cap the daylong Fourth of July festivities.
The day will include a car show at the high school. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the high school.
At noon, there will be a kids’ rodeo followed at 1 p.m. by the 59th annual Yoncalla Rodeo at the grounds at Elkhead and Eagle Valley roads.
The Yoncalla Chamber of Commerce and city parks and recreation department will host a free ice cream social at 5:30 p.m. at the Yoncalla Community Center, 400 Main St.
There will be pioneer games at 6 p.m. at the high school.
Also in the evening, Johnny Cash tribute performer Scott Allen and progressive soul duo Jackie Boyz will entertain at the high school.
At dark, some $11,000 worth of fireworks will light up the town. “It’s a great show. People come from all over the place,” said City Administrator Kathy Finley, one of the organizers.
Several groups, including the city, chamber, a rodeo club and the North Douglas Betterment, combine forces to present the festival.
Still, like in other cities, more help would be welcome, Finley said. “It’s an issue here as well, but we’ll keep doing it, until people get burned out.”
Roseburg Hometown Fireworks
Organizers have raised about $29,000 to put on the annual Roseburg Hometown 4th of July at Stewart Park.
Some of the money is raised $1 at a time by selling 4th of July Fireworks Stars at several Roseburg businesses.
Vendors will open at 4 p.m., and live music will begin shortly before 7 p.m. at the Nichols Bandshell.
The UCC Big Horn Band, The Love Hornets and Hemlock Lane will perform.
The fireworks show, approximately 20 minutes long, is set to begin about 9:55 p.m.
Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe CEO Michael Rondeau will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the fireworks begin.
The celebration’s first-year chairwoman, TenDown Bowling & Entertainment co-owner Mariah Smith, said the event benefits from the help of the city, including its police and fire departments.
“We had a lot of help and a lot of new people volunteer. A lot of folks from Umpqua Bank stepped up to volunteer,” she said.
Independence Day festivities will be combined this year with a Riverbend Live! concert.
Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials will kick off the five-week summer series. The group, fronted by Chicago-style blues man Ed Williams, will perform at 7 p.m. at Riverbend Park.
After the concert and after dark, the audience will turn their chairs to face the other way and watch a 15- to 20-minute fireworks show.
“Hopefully, your chest puffs out, and you’re feeling patriotic,” concert organizer Mo Nichols said.
The fireworks will cap a day that will include, after a one-year hiatus, the return of a Fourth of July parade.
“We had so many people who came unglued because we had no parade, so we said, ‘If you want a parade, you’d better help,” said Sandy Lipphardt, the Winston Chamber of Commerce’s immediate past president and one of a half dozen festival organizers.
Winston didn’t have a 2013 parade as longtime organizer Nancy Beiter took off a year. She made getting help a condition to organizing the 2014 parade. “I got help this year,” she said.
The parade will start at 11 a.m. at the Winston Shopping Center and end at Riverbend Park. Parade registration will be between 9 and 10:30 a.m. the morning of the parade in front of the Douglas County Farmer’s Co-Op in the shopping center on Douglas Boulevard.
The grand marshal will be Mayor Sharon Harrison, and the theme will be “Red, White and Blue.”
Beiter said she doesn’t know how many entries the parade will have, though in the past there have been 50 to 75.
To raise money for fireworks, organizers accepted donations and sold stickers that read, “Ka-boom!”
“It’s going to be a spectacularly awesome show,” said Holland, the fireworks organizer.
Because the Fourth of July coincides with a Riverbend Live! concert, the half-dozen organizers didn’t have to arrange for food vendors or activities to fill the day.
The park will have the food vendors normally at a concert.
“Next year, we’re going to need a lot more volunteers,” Holland said.
Sutherlin Lions traditionally have gathered for a Fourth of July picnic. This year, they decided to host an old-fashioned picnic for the community, the club’s treasurer, Bertha Egbert, said.
“We hope to get a lot of people out there,” she said.
The Sutherlin Evening Lions will serve free hot dogs and hamburgers beginning at 11 a.m. at Central Park.
“We’re going to make sure we have enough hamburgers and hot dogs,” Egbert, said.
The picnic also will include karaoke and games. At 1 p.m., there will be a flag disposal ceremony.
“We hope to make it an annual event,” Egbert said.
Diamond Lake fireworks
The Diamond Lake Resort will have its usual 45-minute fireworks show. The fireworks will be shot from a barge in the lake.
This year, the show won’t start with skiers firing off flares and fireworks as they race down Mount Bailey. There’s no snow this year, resort spokesman John Jonesburg said.
The resort also will have lawn games, live music and a barbecue on Friday and Saturday. The Dylan James Show and Helmet Pony will be the featured performers.
Fireworks will be shot over the bay at dusk.
• City Editor Don Jenkins can be reached at 541-957-4201 or email@example.com.