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Fourth of July in Dundy County, 1922

In 1922 the community of Parks in Dundy County celebrated the Fourth of July not only with the traditional fireworks, but a Crazy Cat Carnival in the evening. According to the book Dundy County Heritage (1976), "much advertisement was done by means of posters, put up in other towns. The posters were decorated with red, white and blue cats. When the time came, a large platform was built just south of [the] Kuhlman store with lumber loaned by the lumber yard. Tom Anderson strung some electric lights around from Kuhlman's Delco light plant.

"There were several concession stands. Earl Ballard built a large dart board, a stuffed cat rack to throw baseballs. Every kid in the neighborhood that had a baseball loaned it for the cause. There was a fish pond, and hot dog, pie, and popcorn stands. Profit from the concessions was to go to pay the expenses.

"The free program began about 8 P.M. Jennie Lant Gordon rounded up all the children and put on several nice flag and sparkler drills. The girls wore white dresses with red and blue cats appliqued on them, and the boys wore white shirts and dark pants with red and blue cats on their backs. There were several vocal numbers and Lou Daum and Leta Earl made the music on their violins. Several people helped out on the piano.

"John Ortgessen, a local farm hand who had spent some time with a circus, very skillfully played the part of the daring young man on the flying trapeze. John wore a red and white satin suit which he had borrowed from a circus friend.

"Vern Griffen mastered the fireworks display crew that was second to none. The display consisted of waterfalls and sky rockets, and ended with the American flag. Free square dancing followed until a late hour. A large crowd attended and everyone declared it another successful Parks event, and a most wonderful, safe and sane Fourth of July evening."


(June 2000)



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