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MURRAY – The Fourth of July in Murray was a blast.

And, not just from the fireworks, either.

“The whole day could not have gone better,” said George Blessing, Sr. “It was the best celebration in recent history.”

Known as the annual Murray Freedom Festival, the day began early with a pancake feed, sponsored separately by the Murray Volunteer Fire Department, and ended late with a fireworks show that was different this time.

“It was a scripted fireworks show, the first time for us,” Blessing said. “It lasted about 35 minutes or better.”

The pancake feed fundraiser lasted much longer than scheduled as long lines kept the cooks flippin’ those cakes for hours, according to Blessing.

Among those attending the feed was Peggy Bomer of Bellevue.

“This is my first time,” she said. “I’m really enjoying it.”

According to Amanda Haubach of Beaver Lake, whose husband, William, is on the Murray EMT unit, the fire department is raising funds for a new ambulance bed and an ATV.

Also at the pancake feed, Riley Zimmerman was crowned Miss Murray and will compete for the Miss Cass County crown at the upcoming county fair.

“I feel so honored to represent this community that has given me so much,” Zimmerman said.

Lifelong resident Gene Noell was named the grand marshal of that evening’s parade.

“It’s a real honor,” Noell said of his selection.

Beginning in mid-morning and lasting to around 3:30 p.m., hundreds got down and dirty and apparently enjoyed every moment during the annual mud volleyball tournament or Oozeball as they like to call it.

The team Oozin’ and Boozin’, a champion previously, won it again this year.

The annual car show on Main Street went over well, according to Blessing, and included eight tractors brought in by a local farmer.

The evening parade was about four to five blocks long, he said, which was followed by a performance by the band, Jacked, prior to the fireworks show.

“It went over very well,” George Blessing, Jr., said of the day’s activities.

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