Saturday’s scorching heatwave couldn’t stop hundreds from gathering at Mitchell Roofing and Siding's Fourth of July bash, where guests watched dirt-bikers soar through mid-air, followed by a $50,000 firework show.
While the pre-Fourth of July party enjoyed another year at Mitchell Roofing and Siding owner Cory Cumings' ranch in Mount Vernon, it all began with about 80 friends attending the first bash in 2012. With each year, the number of party goers steadily grew. So too did Cumings firework stock, food supply and list of entertainment events.
“I love this country and the community,” Cumings said, while donning an American flag tank top. “There is nothing better than watching people who come from all walks of life get together in honor of America’s birthday. This party keeps growing every year.”
While the jam-packed event was free of charge, there were plenty of opportunities to give back to the community through Cumings' collaboration with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
The party featured a raffle with proceeds going toward Mitchell’s First Circuit CASA. In addition, Cumings said some of the proceeds were donated to a suicide hotline service for farmers struggling with depression.
“I have had tremendous community support from businesses and generous people,” Cumings said. “And I host this party to show my appreciation to the great people and great organizations.”
With a large pond in his backyard, designated camping areas and a deck overlooking the scenic view, Cumings’ Mount Vernon property is well-equipped to handle the number of guests who attend his event.
The event kicked off at 2 p.m. Saturday with live music, 180 pounds of smoked brisket and 120 racks of ribs served to guests. Cumings said he spends roughly a month preparing for the party.
“We work extremely hard to make this happen every year, and I couldn’t do it without the help of my friends, family and volunteers,” said Cumings, as he stood next to the smoker full of fresh pork.
For the second year in a row, Cumings introduced a group motocross dirt-bikers and ATV riders. Toward the end of the bash, the extreme sports riders brought everyone to their feet with their back-flips and aerial maneuvers. To pay Mitchell’s biggest tourist attraction the respect Cumings believes it deserves, an old Corn Palace dome was placed next to the motocross jump.
“We have so much fun out here,” said Dave Soulek, an avid guest and volunteer at Cumings’ Fourth of July bash. “It’s awesome seeing everyone come together to celebrate America.”
For the grand finale of the event, over $50,000 worth of fireworks lit up the night sky, followed by echoes of applause.
In true patriotism fashion, the song “I’m proud to be an American,” by Lee Greenwood radiated through the speakers that aligned the backyard of Cumings’ house.
“We’re blessed to live in this country, and this is an example of how proud I am to be American,” Cumings said.