Sam Crisler, The Waverly News
WAVERLY – Tracy Hernandez lived in Lincoln for many years before moving to Waverly five years ago.
“And I just fell in love with it,” she said.
The Waverly Chamber of Commerce secretary attributes her affinity for the city to its sense of community that she struggled to find in Lincoln. There have been no events in Lincoln similar to Waverlyfest, which takes place this weekend on Saturday and Monday, July 4, with nearly a dozen events spread over its two days.
“I’ve never been to an event in Lincoln where I felt like I was hanging out with 3,000 of your closest friends,” she said.
Events begin on Saturday evening with street dancing, sponsored by the Waverly Community Foundation. It takes place at Waverly Plaza, with music performed by Nebraska band Kimball Street. Doors to the event open at 8 p.m. and music starts at 9 p.m.
Waverlyfest takes Sunday off, but it heats up on July 4, kicking off at 7 a.m. with the Kiwanis Pancake Feed at Waverly VFW Post 9875. The Kiwanis Kids Parade leaves shortly after, departing at 8:30 a.m. from Center Azria Health Care at 11041 N. 137th St.
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Next is Hernandez’s favorite event – the Waverly Community Chamber of Commerce Parade at 11 a.m. She remembers the year when the parade’s theme was “Christmas in July” and a station wagon was decorated to look like Clark Griswold’s Ford Taurus Wagon from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
“People work a lot to make sure people have a good time, and it’s just fun,” Hernandez said. “It’s so worth it.”
The parade’s theme is “Fun in Waverly,” which city administrator Stephanie Fisher, who also acts as the parade’s organizer, said was a nod to the Fourth of July fireworks. as well as a motto of relief after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After everything we’ve been through for the past few years, I think it’s time to have some fun,” Fisher said.
Three lunch options follow the parade at 12:30 p.m., each at a church in Waverly. Bethlehem Covenant Church will serve pulled pork sandwiches, fries and drinks. The First United Methodist Church will be offering ice cream and hot dogs. And Peace Lutheran will serve burgers, hot dogs and ice cream.
“All three churches have some pretty amazing food and ice cream, so people will definitely want to eat it,” Hernandez said.
At 1 p.m., the Horizon Bank Money Dive at Waverly Pool, in which kids are challenged to dive to the bottom of the pool for coins. The pool will be open to the public for free swimming after the Money Dive.
Waverlyfest will be capped off later that night at 10 p.m. with a fireworks display sponsored by the Waverly Community Chamber of Commerce.
Hernandez thanks the churches, Waverly Area Kiwanis, Waverly Community Foundation the Chamber and Horizon Bank for coming together to make Waverlyfest possible.
“If we didn’t have all these big companies and all these organizations participating and doing their part, we wouldn’t have the big celebration that we have,” Hernandez said.
All of the events together create what Hernandez says is an important demonstration of Waverly’s sense of community.
“I want us to be connected, I want us to live together, I want us to have fun together and help each other, and I want us to be a real community,” Hernandez said. “I just think all these different activities are a step towards that.”
Sam Crisler is a reporter for The Waverly News. Contact him by email at email@example.com.