The annual Fourth of July festival in Havre's Pepin Park started in a traditional form Wednesday.
A large crowd had gathered on the picnic tables and benches under the sunny sky by the noon starting time.
Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Brownies joined a veterans' color guard, quietly filing in at the front of the gazebo. A flag was placed on the gazebo, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited and Donna Tilleman sang the national anthem.
"OK, now we can eat," said Vince Woodwick, who with his brother, Allen "Woody" Woodwick, started the community picnic 11 years ago and does much of the work for the picnic today.
People were already in a long line, without complaint, as they waited to get food.
But long before the festivities formally opened, a group of people that Woody says are the real heroes were already working.
They were at the other side of the park, placing hundreds of hamburgers on the grill.
"Go give them a pat on the head or a kiss on the cheek," Woody said.
Why do they spend their holiday grilling burgers for others?
"I have nothing else to do," said a laughing Nathan Woodwick, Vince's son, as he placed burgers on the grill.
He has been volunteering at the festivities since he moved back to Havre six years ago.
"I saw what they were doing here, and I volunteered," he said.
"I'm amazed at the number of businesses who help out," Nathan said. All of the food to feed the estimated 1,500 attendees are donated by local residents and businesses, he said.
"I enjoy it," he said
One of the big reasons for the success is the weather.
"It always turns out nice," said Jeremy Woodwick, Woody's son. "Every year we've had good weather."