Edna and Maureisa Winkleman of the Howland area was relieved to watch a parade before the first float passed and the first piece of candy was tossed. “It’s nice to be able to get out and see other people,” Warren resident Edna said. “They’ve been cooped up for so long, and it’s nice to be able to get out finally.” 

Edna and her daughter, Maureisa, were among those who came out and lined both sides of East Market Street to watch the parade that kicked off Saturday’s Community Coming Together festival in and around Richard E. Orwig Park off East Market. The parade began near East Willow Drive Northeast and proceeded on East Market before heading north on Shaffer Drive. 

Don Winkleman, Edna’s husband and a member of Howland’s American Legion Post 700, drove a truck driver with an attached trailer that launched the parade, along with Post 700’s color guard. Maureisa expressed her delight at seeing more children outside and engaged in a range of activities rather than “behind their televisions and cellphones.” Nonetheless, mother and daughter were concerned that this “might be the quiet before the storm,” referring to another COVID-19 surge. 

The annual Fourth of July celebration in the township was canceled this year due to the uncertainties surrounding the health crisis earlier in the year. Furthermore, events had to be planned and organized in advance. 

Township Trustee James LaPolla Jr. said the festival was timed perfectly because many families are at home over Labor Jobs weekend. According to him, this provided people with a great opportunity to enjoy fellowship, companionship, and the company of others. 

A volunteer committee organizes the township’s two events: Saturday’s festival and the traditional Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, according to LaPolla. 

We wanted to do something after the mask requirements were lifted,” Matt Vansuch, trustee and event chairman, said. 

The events included freestyle karate displays, dancing performances, activities, and games. A Lego Derby was one of them, in which young people made vehicles out of Legos and then raced them on a four-lane wooden derby track with a finish line. Andy Stefurak, Cubmaster of Howland-based Cub Scout Pack 122, said, “They created their own Lego automobile with unique weighted wheels.” 

He noted that a “frog flinger” exercise, in which participants flung plastic frogs into two buckets for prizes, was another enjoyable competition. Pack 122 will hold a recruitment meeting for boys and girls in kindergarten through fifth grade on Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Howland United Methodist Church on Howland-Wilson Road NE, according to Stefurak. 

The Mahoning Valley Wall of Honor, which Post 700 brought to the festival, was set up to remember and honor the fallen warriors from Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana counties who died in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and World Wars I and II. 

I was in the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment,” Richard Ginkinger of Warren, a three-year U.S. Army veteran, remembered as he sat next to the Wall of Honor. 

Ginkinger recalled that his mother signed him up for military duty, which he entered in October 1964.  Part of his duties in Vietnam included covering for and protecting his platoon by firing powerful M-14 automatic rifles, said Ginkinger, who received basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., and infantry training at Fort Hood, Texas. 

The Howland Historical Society was also there to relocate the two-story 1830s Brown Mackey Yellow House from its current position off state Route 46, according to Cindee Mines, a society board member. The mansion, which is Howland’s oldest dwelling, houses the society’s museum, according to Mines. 

Many people enjoyed “Raya and the Last Dragon,” which was screened on a 26-inch screen as part of a “movie under the stars” event. The Dave Kana Trio provided musical entertainment. 

Source: Warren Tribune Chronicle