Waiting to enter the La Porte County Fairgrounds for the annual firework show, cars lined Highway 2 in anticipation. The gates opened at 6 p.m. and catered to La Porte residents with family and friend fun festivities. People wearing patriotic apparel played Frisbee in the fields, danced to the ringing beats of Sound Bites DJ and Karaoke and laughed through games of corn hole long before dark hit and the fireworks spectacle began.
Kids celebrating the 4th were invited to the Surrey Fire Safety House to learn basic fire safety and the danger of fireworks. Fireman Randy Sheldon suggested that while celebrating the 4th of July to “be really careful with your fireworks and always have young kids supervised by an adult. Fireworks are dangerous when they’re not used properly.”
In addition to the fun activities, the holiday gathering reminded many of the importance of the coming together of family, friends and community. Joy Zigler, president of the La Porte Jaycees (a local, state, national and international young person’s service organization that annually organizes the La Porte Parade and Fireworks show) explained that her favorite part about helping organize the festivities is “working with all the different people that pull it together—it’s amazing—and the connections that you make and the friends for life. It’s been great.”
Another attendee showed his patriotism and community support by wearing an Uncle Sam costume.
“I do this to give back to the community," Mark Williams said. "I dress up in these costumes and take pictures with kids so they can say they met Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty.”
As the sun began to set vividly in bright shades of pink over the La Porte County Fairgrounds, members of the local Kingsbury Madbomber Fireworks Production Company were rearing to blow stuff up (safely) into the spectacle of fireworks everyone awaited. Shawn Carter, the man in charge of the operation, kindly shared his enthusiasm (to the extent of inviting this reporter to open the show and set light to the first round of fireworks). He said his favorite part about putting on a show like this is for “my family-- my friends-- to come over and spend some time together. A close second to family and friends is just exploding things. The adrenaline rush is incredible.”
In addition to being enthusiastic and loving what they do, Carter and the Madbomber crew were particularly proud to be presenting their show to the La Porte Community in celebration of the 4th.
“I’m extremely excited to be in La Porte doing this show because just to the east here is the La Porte Army Guard Unit and that was the unit my son belonged to and he passed in 2010," Carter said. “This is special because Chris [a Madbomber crew member] was the medic in my son’s unit. We let out the word for his unit buddies to come by and say hey, and a few of them have.”
The evening ended with a rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" sung as an introduction to the main event. The fireworks alerted the audience to the end of another La Porte flavored 4th of July and the crowd slowly retreated back to their cars and the familiar hassle of the parking lot exit line.