GALION — Dubbed the 2020 Galion Independence Day Celebration, locals gathered in Heise Park on Saturday to enjoy a car show, sand volleyball, a baseball game and tasty treats from food vendors before taking in the late-night fireworks show.
Sarah Capretta, who organized the event, was happy with the turnout, even though the traditional Pickle Run Festival had to be canceled this year due to Covid-19.
She said there were more than 100 entries in the car show with people showing up at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. even though registration didn’t start until 3 p.m. A steady stream of car lovers took in the classic cars throughout the afternoon and evening.
“We had sand volleyball in the morning. Eight teams signed up,” Capretta said, noting the games were over by 3 p.m.
“I was contacted by the city asking if we could still have some food vendors and the car show while the baseball tournament was going on, as well as the sand volleyball,” Capretta said. “That was about three weeks ago, so in three weeks we planned the car show, sand volleyball and the food vendors.”
Visitors were encouraged to practice safe social distancing and Capretta explained food vendors also had a new set of regulations they had to follow. People were asked to wash their hands and use the hand sanitizer that was available.
“We wanted everyone to be safe while they were down there, but we also wanted to provide some type of normalcy,” Capretta said. “People seemed to enjoy the day and they were being pretty smart about what they were doing. The food vendors said everything ran smoothly and didn’t have any issues.”
She was glad the celebration turned out so well, but it wasn’t easy.
“It’s a lot of work to get the regular Pickle Run together, let alone trying to do something within a three-week period,” Capretta said. “Everybody did great.”
The community also chipped in to make the park attractive and inviting to locals and out-of-town visitors.
She said there is typically a big park clean up prior to Pickle Run, with more than 60 kids from Grace Point Church last year doing the cleanup.
“But we couldn’t do that this year, so what we did was adopt out flower beds to different organizations,” Capretta explained. “And probably within two or three days of us posting on Facebook that we were looking for groups and organizations to adopt flower beds, we had adopted all the ones out that we were looking to have taken care of. The volunteers weeded and mulched and planted flowers and stuff like that. We were super excited about that.”
Talking about the fireworks, Capretta people are usually packed in to watch them, but said this year people heeded the social distancing request and were spread throughout the park area to take in the pyrotechnics.
Capretta said plans right now are to have the traditional Pickle Run Festival in 2021 on July 2 and July 3.
There were all kinds of visitors to the Heise Park area Saturday during Galion’s Independence Day Celebration. One of the visitors was a dinosaur, who stopped in to visit with and make friends.
The car show Saturday was a success and drew visitors throughout the day. More than 100 entrants made the car show a hit.
By as early as 3 p.m. people were staking out good locations in and around Heise Park to watch the late-night fireworks show. It’s uncertain whether this seat was still occupied by the time the show started at a little after 10 a.m.