Retro Rainier Independence Day Celebration Draws 2,000


For the second consecutive year, the Retro Rainier Independence Day celebration at Wilkowski Park in Rainier created an environment where community members could gather to celebrate Independence Day.

Described as the “fastest-growing Independence Day celebration in Rainier,” the Retro Rainier celebration was held on Saturday, July 1, in Rainier. Wade Lowery, president of We Love Rainier and the event’s organizer, said the second annual event saw an estimated 2,000 people attend Wilkowski Park throughout the day.

The free, family-oriented event has “a little something for everyone,” according to Lowery, who added that a good portion of participants were families with young children. 

“Rainier is a very family-oriented community. I became president of the organization and we decided right out of the gate that we wanted an Independence Day event that involves the community,” Lowery said. “We want to celebrate the community and celebrate our country.” 

This year’s event featured games oriented toward kids so families could have an event to bring their children to for a fun day. Games at the celebration included “old school” games like bean bag toss and more, according to Lowery. He added that there were newer games as well, such as cornhole. 

Those interested in classic cars were drawn to the car show. Other activities included balloon animals, rock painting, a variety of craft and specialty vendors, water balloon toss, a “family selfie station” and more.

Veronica Brauer, a local Castle Realty broker, offered free face paintings with three Lake Fair princesses for participants of all ages during the event. The face paintings included superhero masks, fireworks and other patriotic images.

“I don’t think the community can wait for another event like this, or another event that We Love Rainier will bring,” Brauer said. “It’s so wonderful because the community is getting closer together and spending more time getting to know each other while supporting the small businesses as well.”

Brauer said she was able to walk throughout Wilkowski Park while the Lake Fair princesses painted participants' faces. While she was at her booth, she estimated to have painted around 15 faces, including George Sharp’s face. 

“I’ve been involved in the community since 2020, and I fell in love with it. To have those children's faces so happy after being painted and the parents enjoying the moment, and seeing everyone gathering together as a community, is amazing and beautiful.”

The face painting booth was just one of many activities at the Retro Rainier Independence Day celebration. Lowery said that there wasn’t a “dead” spot in attendance throughout the day, leading to a jam-packed day of fun for all. 

“The community definitely showed up and seemed to have a great time,” Lowery said. “It was a five hour event, and that allowed families to be flexible and come at their convenience. For the entire five hours we had a good flow of families coming in and out throughout the day.”

Lowery feels the community is drawn to the event for a plethora of reasons, but primarily because it’s free for families to enjoy. He said the event is wholesome and fun and allows for families to enjoy activities while celebrating independence with community members. 

“Our committee and our town are very patriotic and we felt it’s important for all of us to come together and celebrate our independence,” Lowery said. “A lot of current and former military and military families live in Rainier, providing a strong sense of patriotism and pride for our Independence Day.”

To go along with the patriotic theme of Independence Day, Lowery said there were several World War II and Vietnam War vehicles at the event. The vehicles caught the eye of the youngest attendees and the oldest, as plenty of participants at the Retro Rainier Independence Day celebration flocked to check out the cars. 

To stay updated with ‘We Love Rainier’ events, follow the group’s Facebook page at