The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Lights Over Morse Lake Fourth of July festival visitors enjoy the carnival midway on Saturday in Cicero.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason Lights Over Morse Lake Fourth of July festival visitors enjoy the carnival midway on Saturday in Cicero.
Being that Fourth of July this year fell on a Thursday, celebrating Independence Day easily turned into a drawn-out weekend of activities for many, including me.
Saturday morning, we woke up early and headed for Cicero, where Lights Over Morse Reservoir had a full day of Fourth of July activities.
We got in on the annual celebration’s golf cart poker run, where more than 30 golf-cart teams, most of which were decorated patriotically, lined up near the pavilion at Hamilton North Public Library. For $20, each team received a chance at a poker hand, driving their golf carts to 19 stops, or checkpoints where a smiling face from each business or organization or church or home checked off the corresponding boxes during the 90-minute contest. It wasn’t a race; in fact, we were done a little early, so we returned to one of the businesses for bread bites.
Once back at the library pavilion, each team drew a poker hand from a burlap sack. Needless to say, our poker hand wasn’t the best. However, Brad Prater of Cicero had a full house and won $200 for the best poker hand. Kris Rednour of Cicero had a poker hand almost as good and won $125 for second-best poker hand.
After the poker run, we watched a little of the sand volleyball tournament and stopped at the Cicero Parks Department property to admire 10 beautifully hand-painted rain barrels (by local artists) and up for silent auction, benefiting Cicero Friends of the Park.
By then, it was almost time to head for the Cicero Kids Got Talent Show, which showcased less than a dozen acts, all of whom auditioned two weeks prior. (The talent show, which took place in previous years at the library pavilion, moved to a temporary stage under a pop-up tent at Community Park. We were told the move from the library pavilion came after there were major concerns with the expanded retention pond site, which was far too close to the pavilion.)
The spunky Azalia Davidson, 8, Noblesville, the daughter of John and Sally Davidson, dressed as Disney mermaid princess Ariel and sang “Part of Your World” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” to win her division (for ages 7-10) of the talent show and take home $100 in cash, which she held tightly in her hand. It was her second consecutive year to win her age division; in 2018, she sang “Cowboy Sweetheart.” Talent winners were also named in three other age categories, which featured youth singing, playing musical instruments, dancing and martial arts.
It was hot and humid day. Thankfully, Cicero Christian Church had a hospitality tent and gave away free water to visitors as well as provided a water bowl for canine companions in Community Park.
There, a vendor area featured an array of items for sale, from T-shirts to toys.
A pleasant surprise was coming upon retired artist John R. Oilar, who sat at a table offering $5 ink portraits for those who can stop and pose for him. My daughter sat down at the table, and within minutes, he had finished a lovely portrait of her to take home. Light conversation with the Crawfordsville, Ind., artist discovered that his artwork has been displayed at the Indianapolis State Museum, among other Indiana locations, and he has earned more than 100 awards for his artwork.
My daughter wanted ice cream, so the next stop was the Hit N Miss Ice Cream, with good old homemade ice cream made with an old-fashioned hit-and-miss engine that operated right in front of us.
As we walked to the classic car show in the park, I couldn’t help but notice a fence with all of the large sponsor signage, including The Times newspaper in Noblesville.
Next stop was the classic car show in the park, where we admired a green Ford Lincoln, a green 1956 Chevy, a blue 1967 Ford Mustang, a blue Chevy El Camino, and some more Chevys in an array of colors from the 1950s.
Retired Noblesville High School custodian Bill Gritten stood next to his 1993 red Ford Mustang Cobra, smiling, sharing that he bought the car new at Ray Skillman. How many miles are on the Mustang? “32,000,” he said. “When I bought it, I wanted to do the cruise-in and car shows.” The 5.0-liter, 302-cubic-inch five-speed manual Cobra has power windows and power door locks, and air conditioning. “I take it to all of the car shows that I can go to,” said Bill, who when he departed Cicero was on his way to the cruise-in on the Hamilton County Courthouse Square in Noblesville.
After that, we found some veggie gyros before heading back to the library pavilion for the golf cart scavenger hunt, a first-time event at the festival. The scavenger hunt was actually more fun than the poker run. There was a lot of silly stuff. Like pumping gas for a stranger, reciting a love poem to a stranger and telling a knock-knock joke to a stranger. Shaking hands with a police officer and shaking hands with a firefighter in front of a fire truck. Posing for a photo with a veteran, posing in front of a convertible, and posing wearing a sombrero inside of a Mexican restaurant. All had to be documented with photos. There were four pages of things to find, including one page of items to bring back with you to the finish line.
It was definitely a race against time during the 120-minute contest. If we would have had an extra 15 minutes, we would have had nearly every item, except for “an expired driver’s license.” Cicero residents, which we are not, definitely had the advantage of finding items, signage, businesses and people during the scavenger hunt. And, come to find out, the first- and second-place winners ended up being golf-cart teams led by the Cicero Police Chief and his son.
After the scavenger hunt, we listened to a little Blue River Country Band concert and spent the rest of the festival in the carnival midway, where we happened to find the talent show’s young winner, Azalia Davidson, who quickly became an amusement ride partner with my daughter, going from ride to ride to ride, over and over and over until they were both worn out and tired.
What a day. Cicero was a lot of fun.
-Contact Betsy Reason at