City’s July Fourth observance scaled back|But fireworks will still join festival’s food and music at celebration

Published 4:37 am Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Contributing Editor

Though scaled back this year because of the poor economy, Washington’s Fourth of July celebration will still include the traditional fireworks display, musical entertainment and festival-type food.
The celebration begins at 5 p.m. and concludes at the end of the pyrotechnics show set for 9 p.m. Eddie Lilley, a fixture at Music in the Streets events, and his band are scheduled to perform, according to Jule MacKenzie, one of the celebration’s organizers.
Gary Tomasulo, president of the Historic Downtown Washington Merchants Association, said festival organizers had no choice but to scale back the celebration.
“The economy has really hurt us. Just trying to get any sponsorships to pay for events has been difficult,” he said. “We just don’t have the money to pay for events for an entire day.”
Several downtown businesses will be open July 4, but some downtown restaurants will be closed, Tomasulo said. Not to worry, there will be plenty of food, either at restaurants that will be open or provided by vendors, he said.
Scoops, the downtown ice-cream shop, will be open to accommodate those who come downtown July 4, Tomasulo said.
“We’re going to have food like burgers, hot dogs, softshell-crab sandwiches, homemade ice cream and snow cones,” Tomasulo said. “There’s a good chance we will have funnel cakes, too.”
Beaufort County-based vendor Carolina Catch Too will sell softshell-crab sandwiches, fish sandwiches, crab-cake sandwiches, onion rings, french fries, cheese sticks and several types of soft drinks.
The ice cream will be made using an ice cream churn owned by Ted and Brenda Davis, whose churn is powered by a one-piston engine that makes a distinctive “pop-pop-pop … pop” sound familiar to anyone who’s attended Summer Festivals in Washington for the past several years. Their ice-cream stand is a tradition at the yearly festival.
“It’s a hit-and-miss engine, a John Deere,” said Brenda Davis about the engine built in 1936. “We’ve been churning ice cream for seven years. We do it as a hobby.”
This Fourth of July, Andrea Davis and Hugh Cherry, the Davises’ daughter and son-in-law, will sell four flavors of ice cream: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and banana.
After years of observing Independence Day with only a fireworks show on its waterfront, a Fourth of July celebration involving more activities returned to Washington in 2006.