A Fourth of July parade that started on Nappanee’s Main Street and ended in Stauffer Park lost a chunk of its participants by the time it reached the park. Fire trucks didn’t come down Dersken Drive, and some parade walkers checked out early, but Grand Marshal Dick Mishler and his family drove all the way to the end.
Kennedy Wiens and Betsy Numemaker draped their tandem bike with streamers and donned red and white-striped blazers to ride in the parade.
“We just joined,” Wiens said when they reached the park. “We wanted to support our country.” She and Numemaker giggled and rode off to Fourth of July celebrations.
Some Nappanee families celebrated the Fourth by taking their kids to Stauffer Park for a mini-festival with face painting, bounce houses and barbecue and ice cream vendors.
Mackenzie Shafer and neighbors Gracie and Natalie Ulanowicz came away from the face painting booth with pink, white and blue swirls on their faces. Mackenzie’s sister Kailyahna Shafer was the sole holdout, choosing to get purple butterflies on her cheek instead.
Mackenzie elected herself spokesperson for the group and explained that she and Natalie picked out their designs together.
“We wanted to be matching,” she said.
Approximately a dozen families stood in line to get their faces painted. Some opted for a curlicued design like Mackenzie and Natalie, but one toddler wearing a red, white and blue headband wanted her face painted like Spider-Man.
After face paint, some families headed over to Rocket Science Ice Cream, which brought a food truck to the festivities. Rocket Science, which quick-freezes individual servings of ice cream with liquid nitrogen, had limited flavors in the truck but all the other capabilities of its permanent location at Coppes Commons.
Proprietor Steve Helmuth said about a half dozen people ordered the “America’s Birthday Cake” flavor, a patriotic, July-only specialty. It’s made with yellow cake batter ice cream, Helmuth said, and red, white and blue sprinkles.
Nappanee’s Fourth of July festivities continue into the evening, until fireworks start at dusk in Mishawaka’s Beutter Park.