Cheadle Lake Park was packed on the Fourth of July for the annual Star Spangled Celebration.

Among the many revelers was Stephanie Taylor, who attended the event for the first time. Taylor moved with her family to Lebanon from southern California about one year ago.

She watched as her daughter, Ester, enjoyed getting her face painted while waiting for the fireworks to begin. Taylor said this type of community celebration was not part of their family life when they lived near San Diego.

"We don't really have these events," Taylor said. "I see the Lebanon community come together and do these events. This is my first time going to all of these."

Events such as the Star Spangled Celebration are part of why Taylor is excited to live in this community.

"My kids in California, couldn't go out," Taylor said because of fears about crime and violence. "Here, they can run around and have a good time."

Making sure everyone has a good time is a big undertaking. The annual Star Spangled Celebration is organized by the Lebanon Community Foundation with Bender Mechanical Services Inc. serving as the presenting sponsor.

This year's celebration included games and crafts for children, as well as face painting and a bounce house. There was a live magic act and a musical performance headlined by James Wright and the Gutones, who entertained the crowd with a selection of blues and rock classics.

The evening concluded with the traditional fireworks show.

Among the many volunteers was Diana Neilson, 17, a Lebanon home-schooler who will be a senior this year. Neilson has volunteered at the event in the past and returned this year to help run the cornhole booth.

"It's a really good way to serve the community, just to help out, volunteer, do stuff with the kids," Neilson said. "It's fun. I really love kids and it's a fun way to interact with them."

And the children let her know they were having a good time by coming back over and over again.

"They loved it, they kept coming back," Neilson said.


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