BY MIKE MARZOLF
Special to the Tribune
Only in my hometown. Sometimes that phrase is overused. Sometimes things that happen in your hometown happen just about everywhere but your hometown pride pushes you to say ‘only in my hometown.’ That’s okay. It’s good to have pride in your hometown.
But I think I can honestly say there aren’t too many towns that celebrate the Fourth of July quite like Great Bend. To appreciate it you have to not only have been in Great Bend on the Fourth but you need to have been in other towns as well over the years.
I have been in five or six towns on the Fourth – not counting towns I have driven through. Nowhere I have been does the Fourth justice like Great Bend. It is quite amazing. I have lived in Great Bend for 15 years. I have spent a handful or so of Fourths here as I still visit my childhood home in Glen Elder and Waconda Lake quite often during this holiday.
This past Fourth as my family and I drove into town as dusk was approaching the sights and sounds were once again amazing. It was a continuous popping of fireworks. The sky was lit up in all sections of town. It is truly a sight to behold.
Some towns don’t even allow fireworks in the city limits. Great Bend encourages it. Great Bend should be proud. I am proud of my hometown for it.
Former athlete/coach update
It’s been a while since we checked up on Kevin Ellis and his Sporting Kansas City soccer club. Ellis has appeared in five games so far this year for Sporting KC after leading all defenders in the MLS last season with five goals scored.
Currently in his fifth season with his hometown team, Ellis and Sporting are in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 7-8-4 record. He has now played in 54 games in his career, starting 46 of them.
If you ever want to see some of the events and moments that happen at Barton just check out the YouTube for Barton. Julie Munden does a terrific job of capturing moments and putting them together on this page.
It includes concerts, graduations, campus tours and a variety of other events including some the latest training and field ops days with students from the criminal justice department and local law enforcement entities.
The Barton County Fair is upon us. At different stages in life the fair means different things to us. The pre-teens years is spent going to the fair with your family, playing games and riding the rides. As a teenager it gets to be more of a friend gathering where you try to lose your parents or go without them.
As you grow older and become a parent, it is all about trying to make sure you child has a good time. Sometimes that is easier than other times.
One time for my wife Crystal and I it was an easy trip to the fair.
Most follow the same routine. Take your kids and make them walk through the exhibits with you. These are inside, and during the heat of the summer that can be important. Following that perhaps grab a bit to eat and as the evening begins, it is time for the carnival portion.
One particular fair about eight years ago or so, it was a very, very hot July day. Temperatures were above the 100 degree mark. We started, as always, by working our way through the first building. Even inside the buildings was extremely warm that day.
During the visit through the first building we toured, there was a little game for kids where you tossed a ping pong ball into a small cup and if successful, you won a gold fish. Katelyn wanted to do this. First throw and bang – into the cup and she won her fish.
That was it, the fair was over for her. As hot as it was there was no way the fish would survive any length of time at the fair. She was done. Didn’t care about eating, didn’t care about riding any rides or even getting cotton candy. She wanted to take her fish home.
So home we went. Fish you win at the fair in the heat don’t last long. In fact, I didn’t even think he would make it home. Was sure he wouldn’t last a week. But he did. The fish got a home in a tank we already had at the house. I knew any day the fish would die.
Somehow that fish lasted some four years or better.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love county fairs. But on that particular day, in that heat, the fair perhaps wasn’t the best place be. That fish was always known as the fish that saved me from a very, very hot July day at the fair.
Hopefully the heat isn’t too bad for the fair this year. It looks like as Friday gets here, the temperatures will be a tolerable 90 or so.
So take time and enjoy the fair this year. After all, it only comes once a year.