Fun and fireworks takes place at Lykins Park - Winchester Sun (2024)

Published 11:30 am Monday, July 8, 2024

By Matt Cizek

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Fun and fireworks takes place at Lykins Park - Winchester Sun (1)

Thousands gathered for the Lights Over Lykins 4th of July Ceremony. (Photo by Matt Cizek).

Fun and fireworks takes place at Lykins Park - Winchester Sun (2)

Various inflatable bounce houses and games were available for others’ enjoyment. (Photo by Matt Cizek)

Fun and fireworks takes place at Lykins Park - Winchester Sun (4)

Hannah Mae Rector entertained others with her music. (Photo by Matt Cizek).

Fun and fireworks takes place at Lykins Park - Winchester Sun (5)

Members of the 501st Legion took photos with those in attendance. (Photo by Matt Cizek).

Fun and fireworks takes place at Lykins Park - Winchester Sun (6)

Veterans of the armed forces led a flag folding ceremony. (Photo by Matt Cizek).

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Twenty-four hours before the United States recognized its Independence Day, Winchester residents had the place and opportunity to celebrate.

On Wednesday, July 3rd, the annual Lights Over Lykins ceremony took place at the park’s location of 1601 Mt. Sterling Road.

“The city and the county [and Winchester-Clark County] Parks and Recreation were really interested in making this a free event open to the public”, said Kim Miller, who chaired a committee that helped plan the event. “The fireworks are the big reason that everybody comes, but they get a whole lot of fun stuff in between.”

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Gates opened at 5:30 p.m., with the grass lot across from the park already starting to be filled as members of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department safely guided traffic.

Upon entering the park. attendees quickly saw a festive environment.

A road lined with American flags soon revealed different branches of the Armed Forces being recognized, including the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

Of the many sponsors, some had booths on display for others to learn more – including Washington Penn and Sterling Health Care.

At approximately 6:00 p.m., activities started.

Several inflatable bounce houses and more, including one incorporating a slide that also included a climbing wall, were on display.

“The city reached out to me and said they needed something for their Fourth of July event”, said Adam Davis, a Winchester native and owner of Lex Bounce. “Between myself and them, we put our heads together and came up with this pretty good spread of inflatables and games and interactives and everything to basically cover all ages.”

A short distance away, a machine blowing non-toxic foam and bubbles into the air to create a “foam fest” was featured thanks to Memory Laine Kids Parties, a Lexington-based children’s party service.

It didn’t take long for attendees to observe a wide variety of food and drink vendors present.

Among them were Tacos Lunas y Mas, Bert’s Speekcheezy, 859 Fam’a’Licious, Mama D’s Eat & Treats, Beverly Ann’s Cookie Truck, Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee, Two Chicks and a Pig, The Happy Corner, and Cookies & Cream.

As is commonplace with Winchester events, Bell on Wheels also appeared.

“It’s good to be here with everybody and show what we have to offer to the community”, said owner Scott Bell. “We have burgers and hot dogs [and] brats. We also have chicken salads if somebody wants a fresher option [and more].”

Some additional businesses were present, including those selling a range of novelty items for people to enjoy.

Plus, among other entertainment options available that included My Kentucky Ride, Just for Fun Creations allowed others to receive balloon animals and engage in face painting.

“We’re [making] hats, dogs, cats, [and] swords and on facepaint, [options] are going to be flowers, a rainbow design, hawk, skull, and spiderman”, said Shane Short, who owns the business with his wife Barb Short.

New to the 4th of July event this year was the 501st Legion, described on its website as a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization composed of and operated by Star Wars fans.

Those present included member Kenzo Barlow Captain of the Guard Alex Stamper – a native Clark Countian, and Carter Webb – Executive Officer of the local Bluegrass Garrison chapter.

All posed as characters from the classic series and took pictures with others in attendance.

“We go through a costume approval process that Lucasfilm has approved”, she said. “Our costumes have to look like we just came off the set of one of the movies or TV shows.”

On stage, just in front of a grassy hill, different musical performances and songs could be heard throughout the night.

Along with DJ Lynn and Cody Toler, one such performer was Hannah Mae Rector.

As well as playing one original song, she delighted the crowd with classic hits such as “The City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver, and a rendition of “God Bless America”.

“I haven’t played here for over a decade, so it is an interesting feeling!”, Rector said. “My parents are here and some of my family and friends, so I’m glad that I’m here.”

Rector also sung “God Bless America” during the Flag Folding Ceremony, conducted by both Rolling Thunder and Patriot Guard Riders.

During the ceremony, an American flag that had been involved in over 50 missions where veterans were laid to rest was folded, as members of each military branch were recognized.

“We’re letting everybody know when they see [the American flag]…what it is and why it is [that] we’re showing respect for the heroes; the veterans that have passed”, said John Babco*ck of Patriot Guard Riders. “It’s to show appreciation and love for Americans and the colors.”

Certainly not least, the event concluded with a fireworks show, put on by Vito’s Fireworks.

Many still arrived at Lykins Park as late as 10:00 p.m. for the show, while others parked vehicles along the road in order to have a worthwhile spot for observation.

In the end, the event was successful in bringing in over 5,000 individuals from inside and outside Clark County.

“I [enjoy[ fireworks the most”, said Nick Patterson, a Mt. Sterling native who attended with his wife and two children. “[There’s] a lot of bright colors. It’s really pretty.”

Returning to the event has been largely encouraged by those who attended.

“We just love coming out here. It’s such a friendly, family event”, said Nelda Conkwright, who attended with multiple friends and family members. “Come out and enjoy! It’s fun. It’s free, and it’s a friendly environment.”

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Fun and fireworks takes place at Lykins Park - Winchester Sun (2024)
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