Ice Cream Party Social and Band Concert, a ‘Very American’ Part of Dixon’s Petunia Festival – Shaw Local


DIXON — The lawn at the Old Lee County Courthouse was filled with people sitting in lawn chairs and the air was filled with laughter.

On Friday, the Petunia Festival Ice Cream Party and Dixon Municipal Band Concert brought together family, friends and the community to commemorate the July 4 weekend holiday.

The air was filled with patriotic music as families joined in a circle on lawn chairs as children chased each other, waving small flags and clutching red, white and blue pinwheels.

The sight of the scampering children brought a smile to returning flautist Patty Crumley, as she crossed the lawn to join her band.

“I love playing and supporting the community and was happy to help out,” Crumley said. “I’ve been playing the flute for about 45 years, and that means so much that my dad always comes to see me play. It had been a while since I had played this event with the band, and when they asked me to play last Christmas, I jumped at the chance.

Among the crowd there was a sense of tranquility: A shared feeling, the welcome return to normalcy since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was nice to come back and bring the community together. I think everyone was really missing that,” Angela Haws said.

Hundreds of people showed up in support of the Dixon Municipal Band as they played their annual July 4 concert on the lawn of the Old Lee County Courthouse on Friday, July 1, 2022.

“Because of COVID, our youngest hasn’t had many opportunities like this, and we wanted to get out of the house and have a good time,” Cameron Blaine said. “I grew up in a big city where events like this were rare. I’ve lived here for ten years now and we really love hosting events like this for our kids. We introduced the children to the community, the firefighters and the police. To show them the faces behind the badge.

Dixon Fire Department Lt. Eric Bergemann was on hand with fellow firefighters Brad Basler and Dave Boucher to help kids explore the inside of a fire truck, answer questions and hand out free stickers. The children approached several specialized vehicles, including an ambulance, a farm tractor and a police cruiser from the Dixon Police Department.

“We’re here for the kids, showing them what it’s like inside the police car and letting them play with the lights and sirens. Interacting with the community and just having a good time is what Petunia Festival is all about,” said Officer Nico Diaz.

Cody Hill of Dixon is a fifth-generation farmer and believes small-town community gatherings like these are part of the fabric of America.

“I love the 4th of July,” he said. “It’s always been one of my favorite holidays and I love having the chance to celebrate with people face to face. People spend so much time on social media that they tend to forget how much it It’s nice to get together. That’s what it’s all about.”

“It’s just a beautiful tradition. The band playing, fireworks by the river, it’s a very intimate tradition. This moment. It’s very American,” Cindy Wadsworth said.

Dixon Municipal Band bandleader Jon James leads his band Friday, July 1, 2022 as they perform on the lawn of the Old Lee County Courthouse for their annual July 4 concert.  The lawn was packed as the band played an assortment of patriotic theme songs.

Wadsworth and her mother, JoAnne Whitcombe, came to see the Dixon Municipal Band concert. Several members of the Whitcombe family, including former Lee County State’s Attorney Paul Whitcombe and their father, Tom Whitcombe, performed in the concert for several years.

This enduring festival is part of Dixon’s charm and character.

A nod to simpler times and small town values.

A little slice of Americana chilling on the windowsill.


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