Saturday, July 10, 2010

Faces of Culpeper ..... Fourth of July Celebration...faces and more faces

I made my first real visit to the Pepper three years ago on the Fourth of July.  My son and daughter in law took us to the Fourth of July parade and fireworks display and we had a ball.  We were already building a house here, but at the parade we got a taste of the fun, small town aspects of Culpeper.  My wife and I grew up in Idaho and had Fourth of July parades in our home towns that were somewhat similar, but had lots and lots of horses, and even some floats.  So this one was different, and it had its own charm.  We have not missed one parade since and don't ever plan to.  This year we even brought friends from out of town.
The Fourth of July is an opportunity for us to reflect on what we have.  It is so important for me personally to understand that I live in a country that has been so richly blessed.  We have freedoms that many other countries cannot not even dream of having.  God Bless America !!!
                                   THE PREPARATION

I took the time to go to Yowell Meadow Park (I just can't stay away) on Friday July 2nd, to catch the preparations that were being made.  I was back on Saturday morning to witness final touches and then back again for fireworks.  I attended several, but not all, of the planned activities.  The events provided a cornucopia of faces.  I shot many people under conditions that did not allow me to get their names.  Even so, I was able to get several names to go with those Faces of Culpeper.  This will be the largest number of pictures that I will ever put on this blog at one time.   Fasten your seat belt and let's jump in.....

I thought it might be fun to check out some of the preparations that were being made for the events that were going to occur in Yowell Meadow Park.  Yowell is normally kept very tidy for our enjoyment, but for this celebration extra efforts were made to make the park a showcase. I took a camera on our morning walk on July 2nd and here is what I found....

I found these guys moving tables so that the covered areas could be used for other reasons.  From left to right they are James, David and Gary.  Gary has worked for the town for 29 years and has 22 months (but who is counting) until he retires. 

A little later I found David trimming the trees branches.  He is clearly a multi tasker.

Next I came upon Ron Johnson.  There was no detail too small to overlook.  He takes pride in presenting the park at its best. 

As we were getting getting ready to get in our car and leave we ran into our friend Marlys  Houston, (whom I will picture later and who had told me earlier that I "better be doing some pictures of the Fourth,") who introduced us to Erick Kalinga who was the Chairman of the Fourth of July Festival Committee.  He was a very friendly guy and clearly had come ready to work .  Even the boss chips in on this effort.

I returned in the evening to see if people were still working and to give my final approval on the condition of the park.  It was pretty much empty and quiet but these guys were still working on getting nets set up for the annual soccer tournament.  From the left are Tim, Shaun and Ryan.  Tim told me that this soccer tournament has been going on for 15 years.  I asked him how many of those years he had worked on it.  He replied that he had been here for all 15 years.  I said, " I guess that makes you the grand old man of this tournament."  He said, "It makes me the grand young man of this tournament."  He looks youthful enough that I certainly would never argue that. 

Things looked terrific.  There were neat and tidy rows of flags and garbage cans.  Oops!  One garbage can had fallen out of formation.

Our little lake took on the aura of patriotism.  It made me feel good.  At the fireworks display the next day this area and the rest of the park would be filled with approximately 8,000 people!

Even the bridge was decked out in red, white and blue.  I convinced Mickey Hicks who was walking through the park to pose for me to make a more interesting photo.  He obliged.  Look closely..... he's there.

Andrea and I came back to the park on Saturday morning for our walk.  Talk about cool!  We had to park our car a little ways away and walk to Yowell, but we had the walking path all to ourselves!  It was a beautiful morning, plus the park was pristine.  When we got to the entrance to no one's surprise, there was Beth the Director of the Office of Tourism putting on the final touch.  The big show was about to begin. 



The downtown streets were lined with people filled with anticipation for the one and only annual Fourth of July parade.  Many of my pictures will not have names of people for obvious reasons, however I will comment occasionally.

These people were nicely dressed for the parade....they get the best dressed at the parade award.  Pat and Paul on the left are from Pennsylvania and Carol and Mark are locals.  They stood near where I and my family were.  I took this picture just before the parade started.  You can sense their excitement.

These parade watchers are Kim and Linda.  Kim, on the left is from Northern Virginia and Linda is a Culpeper resident. Kim has a pretty nice camera and I was expecting serious competition for the good shots, but she went easy on me.  


I cannot help but break in here and comment.  This obviously is an anonymous group of marchers.  Right now I am having a serious debate with myself on whether to call them "The Flags of Culpeper" or "The White Shirts of Culpeper."  Please feel free to register your vote.

A face only a mother could love on the left, of course.

I am not sure I understand this....  are Barbara and Dick one half of the passengers in the car above, or members of the Board of Supervisors below or what?  Is it possible that this is Dick dressed up as Uncle Sam and Barbara is on the sideline laughing?   Help me!

Debbie Yowell and company.

Andrew, Jocelyn (youngest parade observer?) and friend Justin

                                                               No comment!

Ditto !

Melts on the street, not in your hand.

This one of my favorite entrees!  If you want to show off your baby, 
what better place than a parade?

Here is a trio of mother in law, my daughter in law and my granddaughter!

Here is my favorite recent graduate .... class of 2010.... Bonnie Hansen.  Bonnie had (notice I said, "had") two friends, one of which was the Mad Hatter (what do you expect, I mean really?), who were to parade with her as characters from Alice in Wonderland.  The others did not show but Bonnie did not let them rain on her parade (Ha!) and marched without them.  I respect that kind of confidence!

These were the only horses in the parade.  We need to work on that!  With all the horses in this area and all the riders, this parade should be loaded with horses.  I will start the effort right here.   ALL RIDERS AND THEIR HORSES ARE WELCOME NEXT YEAR.  SADDLE UP!

In my mind this guy is the most important person in the parade.  At least I'll bet that those who walked behind him thought so.  Apparently he was the parade's official pooper scooper following those BIG Clysdales.  Although I was not privileged to observe his technique I certainly hope he was paid well.

Now this is an old Ford!  Somewhere around 1950 I'd guess.

OK...early on I promised that I would have a picture of Marlys Houston who was the Vice Chairman of the Culpeper Festival Committee.    Here she is in some kind of contraption that does not look like it was meant for human beings.  I told her that it reminded me of the "The Tale of Two Cities" and the carts they used to take people to the guillotine.  She retorted that by five o'clock on Saturday afternoon she felt like she was on her way to the guillotine (with a cooler?).  Ah come on!  "It is a far far better thing that I do than I have ever done....." etc.

I have a hat very much like this man's.  My daughter in law hates my hat, but I immediately recognized this guy as a man of refined taste.  I put my straw hat on and sauntered over to convince him that because we were wearing similar hats he should agree to having his picture taken.  He recognized a brother and quickly agreed.  Now comes a quiz.    What line of work do you think he is in?   Hint.....he is most actively employed at Christmas time.   Give up?   He is a Santa  Claus.......who'd a thought?!!!  Well, you would have known if his beard was more grown out like it is in the holiday season.


We didn't get our crew to the fireworks display very early...... we only had about 15 minutes to spare.  I still wanted to get some pictures of people who were there.  Soooo I set my camera for low light and headed off.  This is a very small group of the approximately 8000 people at park for the show.

This is the line waiting for funnel cones about 10 minutes before fireworks started. Good luck!

This bevy of beauties asked me to take their picture.  They told me that they all graduated in the CCHS Class of 08.  Class is right!  They had to be the very best dressed for the fireworks. 

This man was a little shy about having his picture taken  !!!!!!   Funny he doesn't appear bashful.  He is what this night is all about.... having fun while sporting the red white and blue!!!!!



So Sunday morning I got up before church to visit the car show and see what faces I might find.  I have to say that I was really surprised at the size of the show.  I am pretty sure I heard there were 89 cars.  I was impressed!

Here is Julie and her kids.  Her husband was a judge in the antique category.

These guys are about the right age to really appreciate many of these other words about my age.  Many of these old cars were rodding around when we were a bit younger.  We saw them on the road, for real!  Ken on the left is retired.  Bob, a UVA professor, is the man in the center and Karl on the right is also a retired guy.  That meant that three of the four of us had hung up our spurs but loved the cars of our era! 

Even as early as I was there, the streets had begun to be crowded.

My first car was a 1955 Ford so  I went up the street looking for one.  There were tons of old Chevys of all kinds and Pontiac muscle cars.   I even saw a Nash Rambler, and then an old Chrysler, but no 55 Fords.  In fact it felt like maybe we were a little short on Fords, but then I ran into a bunch of them including several Thunderbirds.  I was almost at the end of the street when I spotted that familiar chrome design that told me I was looking at the front end of a 1955 Ford.  It was cherry!  The owner had made a few modifications, but I had my fix just by seeing it.   There were three guys admiring it and they represented three generations.  A grandfather, his son and his grandson.  They are: Scott, Dan and Robert Montgomery.  I have even written a song called (you guessed it) "55 Ford."  The last few lines go:  "I left my hometown, I've traveled around and I've owned a lot of cars since then, but I would trade them all away, to sit on top of the world one my 55 Ford." !!!!!!!   


Whew, that was a loooongg blog, and that's it for now.  If you would like to comment, converse, offer suggestions for future blogs etc. contact me at:

Oh....  if there is a picture of you that you would like, you may request it by writing to me at the same email address above.  I will email the picture to you.


  1. This is the best one yet. To connect a couple of dots for you, the blonde woman pushing the baby stroller is Candice Kalenga and her husband, as you noted, was chairman of the 4th of July committee. She and Gabe are friends.

  2. Wow, now I feel like I didn't miss the parade at all. And, just to warn you, I'm joining you all next year. I haven't been able to drag John to a single parade and I'm determined I'm taking my kids to one next year.