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Family fun kicks off Fourth in Yuba-Sutter
In the last six years, Josh Black has spent this nation's Independence Day in the Middle East, defending the very freedoms his loved ones back home were celebrating with hot dogs, fireworks and street parties.
His Army Fourth of Julys were often sweltering, with perhaps a barbecue and some non-alcoholic beer. So on Tuesday, the Marysville resident soaked up every bit of relaxation and patriotism he could find, hanging with his family underneath shady trees at Lake Mi den for a Third of July celebration on Tuesday.
Black's wife, their four children — ages 9, 4, 3 and 1 — and 7-week-old bull mastiff puppy, Tank, found a spot on the lawn to relax and enjoy a picnic. Black threaded worms onto hooks for his oldest son as the two middle children jumped and tumbled in a bounce house, and everyone waited for an evening of fireworks.
"We are making up for it now," he said, of the Fourths he has missed. "I get to celebrate my own freedom and the sacrifices of the guys who came before me. I enjoy taking time to reflect."
On the other side of the lake, children peeled down to their swimsuits for a refreshing dip in the lake as some frolicked in a sprinkler or tested their strength in the bungee run. As live music began to play, the adults dined on tacos, pulled pork and hamburgers, all washed down with beer served by Sutter County Fire Department volunteers.
Firefighter Dane Osborn said it was the department's idea to host a Third of July celebration. So many families in Pleasant Grove and East Nicolaus area have come and gone, that they wanted to re-establish that community connection with an all-American event like Independence Day.
"The backbone of this community is families that have been here for generations and generations," he said. "We are trying to make sure the newcomers and the guys who have been here forever still feel like a community."
With summer festivities like a fishing derby, kayak races and a barn dance, the celebration offered good, old-fashioned, family fun, Osborn said. Though attendance was a bit low, he hopes it will grow into a annual event.
Seated three across in a paddle boat, Melissa Williams, her daughter, Sierra, 5 and Wyatt, 7, pedaled their way softly around the lake in search of turtles and bullfrogs. When they were done, they settled onto the shore for some swimming and splashing.
"This reminds me of vacations as a child," Melissa Williams said.
The Plumas Lake resident spotted a posting about the event on Facebook, and since it was taking place just 10 miles from home, she thought it would be an economical fun way to celebrate the holiday with her children.
"Fourth of July is awesome," said Wyatt, who admitted he was most looking forward to the fireworks.
Jeanne Galloway, a member of the Thousand Trails resort, said her husband usually misses out on fireworks because he always works at 1 a.m. July 5, but on Tuesday, they were looking forward to enjoying a colorful skyward show together.
"I love America," she said. "I'm just happy."
CONTACT Ashley Gebb at email@example.com or 749-4783. Find her on Facebook at /ADagebb or on Twitter at @ADagebb.