ENID, Okla. — The smell of barbecue wafted through the air, a fiery scent of meat and salt. Childrens’ joyful shrieks reverberated throughout the park and through the parking lot, a chorus along with the tinny musical tones of the carousel and the loud, bellowing honks of geese responding to the train’s whistle.
While excited attendees busied themselves with grilling, train rides and other activities Thursday during the Fourth of July Celebration at Meadowlake Park, many sat behind the booths or in lawn chairs next to the attractions, giving up their holiday to instead run the highlights of others’.
One of those people was Delane Osland. Osland, 19, works at the Meadowlake Park paddle boat dock and said they had seen probably more than 50 people Thursday. Typically the dock sees about 20-30 people per day.
“It’s a lot more fun when there’s a lot more people out,” Osland said.
Although it is not really a holiday for Osland since he’s working the boats, he said it was rewarding seeing all the people enjoy their day.
“It’s a lot of fun talking to people, seeing how their day has been going,” Osland said.
In addition to all the celebrating, Osland said he believed the holiday is about patriotism and enjoys remembering the service of his loved ones on Independence Day.
“Fourth of July is really a time to celebrate America,” Osland said. “I have a lot of family that’s been in the military service, so being able to — through their accomplishments — have this day of freedom is pretty fun.”
Scott Smith owns the paddle board dock, along with the miniature golf and sno-cone stand at Meadowlake Park, and has been helping work the attractions every year for the past 14 years. The holiday means something a little different to Smith, as he was in the Navy Reserve from 1976-2001.
“(The Fourth of July means) just the freedom that we have ... and remembering the freedom and the cost for those that gave their life, and that’s given us the freedom to do what we do,” Smith said. “I feel like I did my part to allow everybody to have the freedom to celebrate and do what they do.”
Although it is not a day of relaxation for Smith, he enjoys helping others make memories with his attractions.
“(My favorite part) is just the number of people out that seem to have fun, have a good time,” Smith said.
Kick N Fit Karate volunteer Mat Tolle also said it had been fun for him to help others enjoy the holiday, since he had been working the carousel with his family. The karate dojang was running the rides at the park through a partnership with Kiwanis, which operates the rides and allows other organization raise funds by helping run them.
“It’s been a good time helping out wherever we can,” Tolle said. “It’s a time to reflect and celebrate independence and freedom … and seeing a smile on people’s faces, that’s what it’s all about.”
Rhema Abercrombie comes to the park every year to celebrate and bring her children to have fun on the attractions. She said she appreciates the people who keep the attractions running and the park’s celebration entertaining year after year.
“I think it’s great that they’re adding more things to this park, and they keep making it bigger and better,” Abercrombie said. “I think it’s going to bring a lot more people out in the public on the Fourth of July because this is really the only thing to do here on Fourth of July.”