OTHELLO — “You got any breakfast left?” The inquiry was an honest one.
It was late, and the big Fourth of July parade was set to start in less than 15 minutes.
Rotary Club member Randy Deasy laughed. He was manning the cash register at the head of the club’s breakfast line, a volunteer serving Independence Day breakfast. It’s something the Rotary Club of Othello has done every year since 1975, an essential part of this town’s July 4 celebration.
“We’ve got lots of breakfast left,” Deasy replied.
It was another July 4 in Othello, and Deasy, along with other volunteers including Don Short, the pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, and Police Chief Phil Schenck, were dishing up a hearty breakfast of eggs, pancakes and sausage in Lions Park.
“It’s quite busy, but everybody’s patient,” Deasy said.
“We do it every year, so we don’t even notice (how busy it is),” Short added.
While Lions Park was slowly filling up with booths selling all sorts of food, glitter tattoos, sno-cones and doodads, marchers were lining up at Main Street and 14th Avenue, everything from cyclists to semi-tractor trailers, to celebrate the town’s businesses and organizations and the country’s independence.
The day’s celebrations included a 5k and 10k run, a soccer tournament, a skateboard tournament, a pie eating contest and music and entertainment throughout the day.
And, of course, the parade, with a rain of candy from nearly all the parade participants, drawing children in the street to get as much as they can.
“It’s drive-by candy, it’s like the best,” said Fred Harris, who has lived in Othello for the last 30 years. “We should just do this every year instead of Halloween.”
“A lot of work went into it,” said Paul Horst, a resident of Eltopia who works in Othello and brought his whole family to see the parade. “It’s our first time, and we thought we’d stop a little bit to see what’s going on.”
Five members of the Othello Police Explorers carried the colors at the head of the parade and raised the flag in Lions Park.
“At first, I didn’t want to be an explorer,” said color guard commander Britney Ramirez. “But one of my advisors kept seeing how determined I was in anything that involved physical activity, and he kept on insisting just to, like, try it out.”
Ramirez said she attended a few Explorer training sessions and discovered she loved it.
“It’s something I want to pursue in the future,” she said.
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.