CLINTON — Thousands gathered Thursday at Riverview Park to participate in the Clinton Fourth of July Festival, hosted by sisters Emily Steenhard and Erin George.
The two campaigned last year to “save the Fourth” and this year they saw a success they never imagined.
“This is two or three times bigger than it was last year. It’s fantastic,” Steenhard said.
Events for the day included a parade along Riverview Drive, a firefighters’ water fight, three live musical performances, a hot dog eating contest, a hula-hoop contest and a variety of family friendly activities.
“There are three things we want to celebrate today: family, community and America,” said George, adding that people can have fun and support the community without spending a fortune.
One example of that: a local fire department water fight. Patrons at the event were able to cool off from the hot July sun as gallons of water drenched the street and the crowd.
A hot dog eating contest, sponsored by Holly’s Hot Dogs, also had people clustered around the competition circle. Crowd favorite John Clausen took home the top spot as hot dog eating champion.
In order to allow free admission, Steenhard and George raised more than $20,000 to support the day-long event.
According to numbers presented by the Clinton Police Department, more than 5,000 people were in attendance for the day’s festivities.
“The parade route was full with around 70 entries and the water fight had a total of 28 fire teams,” Steenhard said.
With another successful celebration under their belts, the sisters plan to continue the newly developed tradition.
“We will definitely do this again next year. It will always be free and fun and celebrate local talent,” Steenhard said.
“And we welcome anyone who would like to help,” added George.
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