West Bend continues holiday celebration

WEST BEND – The people of West Bend came out to celebrate their independence Saturday at the town’s annual Fourth of July celebration.

The three-day celebration included a parade late Saturday morning where people showed off their American pride.

Jonathan Bennum, of West Bend, was even wearing a red, white and blue curly wig.

“I planned on this for a long time,” he said, adding he curled his hair himself – before admitting that it was indeed a wig.

“I went above and beyond,” Bennum added.

The parade ended up being one of the most popular attractions, according to Linda Thul, who was on the parade planning committee.

“We had about 50 entries this year,” Thul said.

This year the celebration included free swimming at the town pool and small games for both children and adults.

Mackenzie Banwart and Chelsea Laubenthal both decided to play a few games of bingo. However, neither one of them ended up winning.

“We’re a little disappointed,” Banwart said, though she did add they weren’t originally planning on participating in the game. But when it started up they decided to play anyway.

Even though they didn’t win, Banwart said she and her friend still enjoyed being there.

“It’s West Bend,” she said. “It’s all about the small town.”

Sharon Hanson, of Altoona, said the small-town feel is part of the reason she returned to West Bend for the celebration.

Her family also still lives in town.

“It’s the small town atmosphere that keeps me coming back,” she said. “It’s a big celebration and the community really supports it.”

Jillian Hansen, one of the event chairs, said everybody seemed to be having a good time.

“It seems to be a nice crowd,” she said. “We’ve had a very good day and it’s all going well.”

She estimated the number of people at the town’s celebration was about the size of the usual crowd.

“We had good turnout for the parade, too,” Hansen added.

The celebration continues today with the Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the West Bend Community Center.