Dylan James Band plays during Hopkins’ Fourth of July festivities. (Photo provided)

Hopkins proud to host Independence Day fesitivites

By: 
Leo Martonosi, Sports Correspondent

Dylan Wilson was only 4 years old the last time he stood on the stage in Hopkins before more than 300 people on July 4, 1999.

Although Wilson, the son or Jim and Lisa of Allegan, was thrilled at being elected Prince at the Hopkins July 4 celebration several years ago, he was choked up after singing the National Anthem at Hopkins’ annual holiday this past July 4. Wilson was thrilled to back in old stomping grounds.

“It’s super special and an honor to sing and play (the guitar) on our country’s most patriotic song before so many people that I’ve grown to not only know but to love over the years,” Wilson said.

The soon to be 24-year-old Wilson (July 24) and some of his band members sing and play several instruments at several churches in Allegan County.

“We obviously love singing in church but singing the national anthem for the first time was extra special,” Wilson said.

Wilson, a 2014 graduate of Hopkins High School, treated the large audience to several crowd appreciated performances.

The sizzling 80-degree plus temperatures didn’t bother Wilson or his band members which included two of his cousins from Holland and two others who reside in Allegan County.

Wilson not only shared his feelings on Independence Day, a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776, but also his faith.

“Today is a national holiday but without faith in God you don’t have anything,” Wilson said to a clapping audience.

Longtime Dorr resident David Williams, who followed Wilson’s band to the stage, agreed by playing and singing several hits that had the crowd buzzing.

Williams was most pleased to be back in Hopkins with several other members of his family including his son Adam and sister Mary.

There’s hardly a place in Allegan and Kent County that David Williams hasn’t had the audience going a little wacky at times during his long and successful musical career.

“Everyone loves the Williams,” beamed and praised Brian Ballard of Hopkins, who once again served as Master of Ceremonies for the action filled occasion.

Vern Burgess, 80, and his wife Sally of Hudsonville, love spending July 4 in Hopkins.

“This day is why we are free,” Vern Burgess proudly said. “Some people might take freedom for granted but we don’t.”

Two Allegan County residents—Spc. Chad Althouse and Sgt. Herbert Mercell, members of the Michigan National Guard—said they were thrilled to be a small part of celebrating July 4 in town.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to wear this uniform,” Althouse said.

Contact Leo Martonosi at leomartonosi1@gmail.com.

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