Wednesday, July 05, 2000

Sun, fun mark holiday

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Len Mueller of Northside cools off a trumpeter during Northside's Fourth of July parade.
(Michael Snyder photos)
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        This Fourth of July history lesson comes, appropriately enough, from a slice of Cincinnati's cultural landscape: the center field grass at the Crosley Field replica in Blue Ash.

        While tens of thousands from across the Tristate enjoyed the holiday of sun, fun, music and a fireworks finale, the Wood family of Liberty Township took in the festivities in Blue Ash. At center field, father of four Eric Wood held class.

        “We celebrate our flag,” Brandon Wood, 11, fired back when his dad quizzed him about the day's significance.

        On follow-up, Brandon stumbled on the specific war, but his sister jumped in.

        “The Revolutionary War,” 9-year-old Erika said.

Members of the Bubble Band make their way down Hamilton Avenue.
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        Her dad smiled. “They need to know about their history,” he said.

        In Northside, residents paraded down Hamilton Avenue in its revitalized business district. At Hoffner Park, 4-year-old Mikey Sipe of Northside fired a perfect strike at the dunking booth target.


        Cincinnati Councilman Jim Tarbell came up smiling. “Ya got me!” he yelled to Mikey.

        Throughout the area, old and young connected.

        Out in Colerain Township, as a band played and antique cars began to file out of the Fourth of July Spectacular,

        70-year-old Robert Rutherford sipped bottled water. He talked about the military's role in American history and the lessons for his 11 grandchildren.

        “Our freedom, and that's thanks to the military,” said Mr. Rutherford, a retired chief who put in 23 years with the Coast Guard. “The freedom that they have, and the sacrifice made for them. You know, a lot of lives were lost.”

        Back in Blue Ash, Olivia Culyer, 10, of Mason showed great resiliency, squinting from the hot sun. She bounced on her father's knee as the band Stagger Lee tore off a true-to-the-note version of the Stevie Ray Vaughan classic “Crossfire.”

        “I want her to know about history and family,” her dad, Ron Culyer, 34, said. “To celebrate independence, and the culture. I'm proud of that.”

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