The temperatures continue to rise as we wait for the monsoons to begin. While Williams is severely lacking in moisture, we are not lacking in events. So far, we've already enjoyed Rendezvous Days, Corvette'N America Road Tours, Rumble on Route 66, High Country War Birds Air Display and Small Town Fourth of July, to name a few.
This weekend we look forward to the return of Williams Relay for Life, which begins Saturday at 6 p.m. on the softball field at Cureton Park. Proceeds raised that night benefit the American Cancer Society of northern Arizona. Teams have been formed and various fundraisers have been under way prior to Saturday's event. Everyone is invited to attend the Relay. It doesn't matter if you attend 30 minutes or stay all night, the event offers something for everyone. It's fun and benefits a great cause - the fight against cancer.
We also welcome the 14th Annual Great Escape Rally this weekend. The Desert Road Riders Motorcycle Club's Great Escape includes bike games, bike show, live music and dancing, Miss Great Escape Contest, food and drink, 50/50 drawing, Great Escape Poker Walk, vendors and more.
The Great Escape is a fundraising effort for the group's Toy Run. The rally typically raises more than $5,000. Through the group's Toy Run, the Desert Road Riders assist those who live in small towns that may be overlooked during the holidays. Children benefiting from the Toy Run reside in Williams, Chloride, Oatman and the Native communities of the Fort Mohave and the Hualapai Indian Reservation.
Fires extinguish fireworks
The annual small town Fourth of July festivities were enjoyed by many. The streets of downtown Williams were bustling with activity throughout the day as locals and visitors strolled along the sidewalks.
The mile-long parade with countless flags was awesome and was likely one of the largest parades Williams has enjoyed in recent history.
For some, it felt as though we waited a long time to see the fireworks after 9 p.m. Finally, the fireworks were ignited and brilliant colors blazed across the sky. Then the show stopped. Some of us watching the show from our homes far away didn't immediately notice the large orange glow for a few minutes. Slowly the realization that this was a forest fire sunk in. We watched the smoke grow with alarm.
Luckily, the Williams Volunteer Fire Department, Kaibab National Forest fire personnel and volunteers from other agencies were prepared. In all, five small fires were ignited. Fire personnel quickly extinguished four of those fires and worked into the wee hours of the morning battling the Fourth Fire - named after the July 4 holiday.
It's unfortunate that fire broke out minutes after the fireworks display began. It was simply too dry to ignite fireworks. However, we are fortunate to have numerous trained men and women that knew what needed to be done. Hats off to all that had a part in extinguishing these fires. You all clearly demonstrated your fire-fighting skills and capabilities. Hopefully, such a demonstration will not occur in the near future.
On Friday representatives with the U.S. District Attorney's Office issued subpoenas to Williams Mayor Ken Edes, Williams City Manager Dennis Wells, Finance Director/Assistant City Manager Joe Duffy and Williams Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bud Parenteau. The subpoenas require that all pertinent information in reference to the fireworks be submitted for review by a grand jury. The 0.6-acre fire was quickly extinguished. However, it is sad that additional taxpayers' money will go up in flames as this matter is further investigated.