As the host of the biggest Fourth of July party in Richland County, Lambert swells from a town of around 120 residents to a nearly 1,000 every year on independence day.
“The population of the town just explodes,” Lambert resident Bill Ulrickson said. “If you’re not here by nine o’clock, you won’t be able to park anywhere close.”
Locals don’t remember how or why the Fourth of July got to be so big in Lambert, but Bernard Pease, who has lived in Lambert for 47 years, said the Fourth of July was just as big when he came to the town in the 1960s.
Another resident, Juanita Carranza, said she thinks the Fourth of July became such a big deal in Lambert because the school reunion has always been held on Fourth of July weekend. “A lot of family reunions center around it too, so everybody can partake in the celebration,” she said.
Regardless of how it came about, Lambert will be the place to be Wednesday (today) with a Fourth of July celebration that includes, a parade, music, fireworks and plenty of food. The party has something for everyone and appeals to young and old. Cade Verschoot, 4, said the fireworks are his favorite part of the day. He’s also looking forward to riding his green bicycle in the children’s bike parade for the first time. Margaret Carranza, 101, said she’s looking forward to the music and avoiding household chores for a day. “I get away from washing dishes,” she said.
Darlene and Bernard Pease said they’re most looking forward to the musical jamboree, which highlights the afternoon festivities. “I like the jam session because I like to dance,” Bernard said.
The celebration begins with a 5 a.m. wake-up call when a cannon will be discharged in the center of town. “When it discharges, it’ll shake you,” Ulrickson said. “You’ll know that something has happened.”
At 11 a.m., vintage and modern cars and tractors will parade down Main Street, and children will decorate their bicycles and ride in a bike parade. “You will see restored tractors galore,” Juanita said. “And some of those cars are just awesome.”
Plenty of food will be available. When the parade concludes, the Lambert Fire Department will serve pulled pork and beef sandwiches, watermelon, coleslaw and baked beans at the annual Fourth of July barbecue. The Lion’s Den will serve nachos supreme and Lambert’s Relay for Life will serve hot dogs, chili dogs, apple pie, cherry pie and root beer floats. The CQ bar will also serve food and drinks and a mini donut stand will have Italian sodas, iced lattes and other drinks.
While there’s sure to be no shortage of activities, Phyllis Ulrickson said her favorite thing about the Fourth of July celebration is simply enjoying the company of her fellow community members. “Everybody gets together,” she said. “Everybody is all friends that day. Everybody talks and visits and you know everybody. It’s fun just to have the get together. Of course I love the parade, I love horses and all that other stuff, but that’s what I like about it.”
“It’s a good place where families can come,” Juanita added. “The kids have something to do, they can run all over and they’re safe, adults can visit. It’s a good time. Just an old fashioned Fourth of July the way it should be. Mom, Pop and apple pie.”