People came by pickup, SUV, sedans, motorcycle and anything else that had wheels and a motor on it, to get to Van Alstyne’s July 4th celebration and fireworks show at the Van Alstyne High School. And once there, some as many as two hours before dark, out came other wheels — on skates, skateboards, and wagons. It was a true celebration, a celebration not only of America’s freedom, but also of family and friends, of children being children and grandparents being proud of those children, and of hometown pride.

Sponsored each year by the City of Van Alstyne, the 30-minute fireworks show was dramatic from the first upward missile to the finale that filled the dark sky with a brilliance that elicited enthusiastic utterances from hundreds of spectators of all ages.

The evening started, officially, with scouts from Boy Scout Troop 44 presenting the American and Texas flags while local resident Ashley Walker sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” all from atop one of Van Alstyne Fire Department’s engine trucks. A scant five minutes later, the first rocket’s red glare flew up into the night.

But so much happened during that “unofficial” time when people began arriving and setting up in the school parking lot. Frisbee games, children climbing into the fire engine, matriarchs decorating their youngsters with glow necklaces, old-fashioned chases and races, standing in line for a Kona Ice and laughter.

The school district turned the parking lot lights off before the fireworks and turned them back on again when it was time for the vehicles to leave. Van Alstyne police turned out to be there if needed, and all of the fire department’s firefighters were on hand.

The city contracted with Davis & Miller Firework Co., of Gunter, for the fireworks show.

Van Alstyne City Manager Frank Baker said the city puts this event in its annual budget so that the city can get together.

“It’s to celebrate the independence of our great nation,” he said.