SAUGUS — Families were decked out in patriotism gear, sliding down slides and swinging on swing sets in celebration of the Fourth of July in the Lynnhurst neighborhood Monday morning.
Tables were topped with food and refreshments and children’s bikes lined the perimeter of a basketball court, each decorated with patriotic ribbons and flags. Announcer Jaclyn Hickman delivered a short statement before continuing to the children’s games, “Today we acknowledge those that fought for our rights and freedom to be here today celebrating the Fourth,” he said.
After singing the National Anthem, children were asked to come before judges Arianna Johnson and Victoria Quagenti with their costumes and bicycles. Lining up in a straight row, children from different age groups awaited their ribbons for best costume, best decorated scooter, and best decorated bicycle. Johnson and Quagenti handed out first, second, and third place ribbons to those who won the sack and running races. Both races were divided into age groups from pre-k to ages 6 through 8, ages 8 to 10, and ages 11-13. Adults were also invited to participate in the races.
“I’ve been doing this since I can remember, my whole family is here. It’s a great opportunity to bring the community together. I grew up in this neighborhood and have been judging for the last four years,” said Johnson.
This event is the “highlight of my year,” said Quagenti, and that both of these high school seniors love to see the kids happy and having fun.
President of the Lynnhurst 3rd and 4th of July Block Party Committee Jaclyn Hickman, helps keep this event running. Donations are also generously gifted by community members to keep this neighborhood gathering alive.
“This was supposed to be shut down a few years ago, but I insisted that it stay running. My husband grew up here in this neighborhood, he’s been attending since he was a kid. We couldn’t watch them take this away,” said Hickman.
Hickman says, “It’s heartwarming to see today’s turnout.” It’s not often people come across children’s sack races at Independence Day events.
This is Lynnhurst’s 100th annual celebration and Hickman looks forward to celebrating many more years.
“It’s fun, after the races we hide candy in a haystack and the kids try to find as many as they can before time is up. Adults too,” said Hickman.
Volunteers served hot dogs, popcorn, popsicles, and water to everyone who came out. Children continued to play, laughing, screaming, and waving mini American Flags on a shining, sunny morning.
Correction; Due to a reporter’s error, a story on page A1 Tuesday incorrectly attributed a quote about the town’s founding fathers; the quote was by Jaclyn Hickman. The Item regrets the error.
Magella Cantara can be reached at [email protected].