RIDDLE — The Riddle Sawdust Jubilee returned this year bigger and better after taking a year off in 2015 due to a lack of funds. The Fourth of July event has been a local favorite for more than 30 years.

Local residents were excited about its return.

“There are more people here with about 75 percent more classic cars this year,” said Bob Smelcer of Myrtle Creek. He thrilled several hundred people on Riddle’s Main Street during the Fourth of July parade Monday, showcasing his float that was pulled by a 1959 long nose Peterbilt semi truck.

Smelcer likes to participate in the parade with his ornate 600-pound, 9-foot-tall horse made of wood, metal and paper mache that was built by an Ashland theater group. Children get to sit on the horse after the parade.

Last year, Riddle only saw a July 4 parade during Fourth of July festivities. This year the event lived up to its theme of “Bringin’ Back the 4th,” with the return of a four-day event filled with music, dances, activities, vendors, food, a car show, fireworks and, of course, a parade.

Smelcer’s wife, Midge, was enthused to see that Riddle was celebrating this Fourth of July with more than just a parade this year.

“It brings so many people together and is a time for us to support each other,” Midge Smelcer said. “This is a place for the community to come together and to support what our flag stands for, what our constitution stands for and our right to be free.”

Darrell and Sandy Chambers of Myrtle Creek attended the Riddle event for the first time after moving to the area last year. They entered a classic car in the Riddle Jubilee Show and Shine car show held on Main Street Monday.

“The Fourth of July means a lot to many people and shows our respect for our country,” Sandy Chambers said. “I lived in Yugoslavia for four years, and the difference is just amazing,” with the U.S. providing more freedoms, she said.

“(The event) shows our respect for our colors in the American Flag and independence,” Darrell Chambers said. “Without our forefathers, we wouldn’t be doing this.”

Lise Booth from Rogue River brought her 1942 Cadillac Club Coupe Sedanette with her husband, Ted, to the classic car show to share their restored vehicle with others.

“Seeing the red, white and blue flag is special even though I’m Danish,” Lise Booth said, who’s an American citizen now after moving here when she was 9 years old.

Booth was born in Denmark with her family moving to the U.S. to find work in the land of opportunity in 1942. She is the only girl out of seven children with five of her brothers serving in the U.S. Army, so Independence Day is special to her.

Devyn Myers, 20, of Grants Pass appreciates the Fourth of July because “it’s one of the holidays that we use to honor the troops who fought for our independence and freedom with 1776 a crucial part of American history at the very least, it was a very inspiring time.”

The nonprofit organization called Cruise for a Cause was responsible for bringing back the Jubilee Show and Shine this year. Event coordinator Brett Parrett from Roseburg grew up in Riddle and organized this car show to increase community awareness.

“Independence Day brings everybody together, allowing them to be a part of their community and celebrate what America is,” Parrett said.

Parrett said that all the funds raised through the car show entry fees including T-shirt sales, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing will go toward the Riddle Sawdust Jubilee fund for next year’s event.

He is already looking forward to Riddle’s 2017 Fourth of July.

“Next year’s event is going to be amazing,” Parrett said.

Reporter Vera Westbrook can be reached at 541-957-4216 or vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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Education and Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Vera Westbrook is the education, nonprofits, and arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4216 or by email at vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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