Fireworks went astray toward the end of the show at the Oelwein Celebration on Saturday, injuring a young girl.
A firework shot out across the Lake Oelwein and came down too soon near the boat dock area. The girl was injured from the hot debris and taken to MercyOne Oelwein Medical Center for treatment.
Oelwein Celebrations Inc. President Art Medberry said he spoke with the girl’s father on Sunday, who told him she was treated in the emergency room and everything was good.
“J & M Displays started off with a big fire up of fireworks, then they went into the regular bursts. It happened just before they were going to do one of the final shoots. We immediately shut down the fireworks for the night and an ambulance, EMTs and the fire department assisted in getting the girl treated at the scene and taken to the hospital,” Medberry said. “The fireworks outfit is fully insured, and we are thankful there were no other injuries.”
As to the rest of the weekend activities, Medberry said he spoke with a lot of people throughout his travels around City Park Saturday.
“Everybody I talked to said they were happy with the way the celebration went and look forward to next year. Quite a few were excited about the raffles,” he said.
“A lot of people think the city puts this celebration on. They help finance it, but it is all volunteers that put this together each year. We have 12-15 people that are active with Oelwein Celebrations in one way or another,” Medberry said.
He gave a special nod to the Oelwein Lions Club, whose members work the gate each year.
“They stand out there in whatever the weather and take donations. They are a great support group for us. We couldn’t handle it without their tremendous help,” he said.
Medberry also personally thanked Fareway for the 30 or more watermelons that volunteers sliced and gave away to hungry visitors. He said the grocery store also supplied a fruit tray for one of the bands.
“Without the supporters that we have behind us, and people coming into the gates and giving money, we wouldn’t be able to do this anymore,” Medberry said.
He said the goal of the Celebrations organization is to make it family-oriented and a little bigger or better every year. Medberry added that quite a few attended church services and the potluck at the park Sunday morning.
Medberry has been a part of the Oelwein Celebration team for 8 or 10 years.
“Some years are better than others. This was a good year,” he said summing up the weekend.
The city ushered in the season of town celebrations with its own Oelwein Celebration over the weekend. This year, Oelwein Celebration Inc. kicked off the weekend Friday night, May 31, at City Park with music, food and a fireworks preview.
The Oelwein High School group “Sideburns ‘til Sundown” gave an hour’s worth of music opening for “Challenger” that rocked the park from 7-11 p.m. Food vendors along with a beer garden got a head start on weekend sales, as well. Fireworks by J and M Displays, Yarmouth, Iowa, gave a preview of the planned big event on Saturday night.
Saturday, June 1, the Oelwein Celebration parade rolled out at 10 a.m. with a long lineup of entries.
Medberry said the parade was scheduled a half hour earlier than past years to allow people more time to get out to the park and enjoy all the activities for the day.
“It looked like the rain was going to chase people away, but they came back and had a great afternoon. Except for the accident during the fireworks, I think everybody overall had a pretty good day,” Medberry said.