Patriotism at the Post drew a large crowd of folks, many bedecked in red, white and blue clothes, hats and accessories, to the historic polo field on Barnhardt Circle in Fort Oglethorpe on July 3 to celebrate the 243rd birthday of the United States of America.
The celebration, coordinated by Chris McKeever, director of the 6th Cavalry Museum, included a chalk art competition with guests coming in from other cities, a Patriotic Kids costume contest, music by the Tabernacle Big Band, food, free U.S. flags from Heritage Funeral Home, and an inflatables play zone for children. Battlefield Community Seventh Day Adventist Church gave away free glow sticks, tattoos and two bicycles and helmets.
Flintstone Boy Scout Troop 316 presented the colors before the Tabernacle Big Band led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and invited the crowd to sing along as they played patriotic music.
There were food vendors, including the Chattanooga Valley Lions Club frying up their specialty pork rinds.
McKeever said sponsors of this year's Patriotism at the Post were North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation Operation Round-Up, First Volunteer Bank, Callahan Mechanical, and Chattanooga Trailer.
The chalk art at the event is becoming a signature feature for Fort Oglethorpe. Chalk artist guests this year included a number of people who also organize chalk art events and teach the skill. Artist Zach Herndon, from Atlanta, pioneered the Pop-Up Chalk Festival concept and teaches classes and workshops. He has traveled to festivals in numerous states and in Germany and Italy.
Herndon graced the street at this year's Patriotism at the Post with a reproduction of a painting by Bradshaw Crandell called "Into the Wild Blue Yonder."
Artist Heather Cap is another who has participated in Fort Oglethorpe chalk art events in the past. She, too, organizes events and teaches classes. She chalked a scene of a petrified forest on Barnhardt Circle.
Brittany Williams of Griffin, Ga., chalked Paul Revere furiously riding his horse to alert the patriots that the British were coming.
Melissa Lohr, who was the adult chalk artist winner at Patriotism at the Post, drew a patriotic T-Rex, and Natalie Enzmann, the youth winner of the contest, drew the character Fival from "An American Tale."
The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display celebrating another year of American freedom. "Where liberty dwells," said Benjamin Franklin, who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, "there is my country."
Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.