They came in a steady stream, arriving in cars or pickups, bringing grills for hot dogs, scooters and baseballs for the kids. They lined lawn chairs up in front of the music stage, and then turned those around 180 degrees for the fireworks.
The annual city-sponsored Fourth of July fireworks show was held last Thursday at the high school, and brought out the best in cooperation between the city and the school district. All drivers coming into the parking lot showed off care for everyone’s safety, as they drove slowly and cautiously until they got their vehicles parked for the evening. And, when they all left following the fireworks, the drivers were kind to one another — there was no mad rush to be at the front.
The hot dog chefs were charitable enough to offer their fare to others. People offered lawn chairs to those who forgot them at home. And all of this, and more, was accompanied by smiles, handshakes and hugs — and watermelon, provided by a local church, sliced and ready for eating.
There were at least two families new to Van Alstyne among the nearly-2,000 people in attendance, and, thus, new to the Fourth of July fireworks show. Kay Morris said they had moved to the city from the Dallas area, where there were always major fireworks show around Independence Day, and it was one thing they hated to have left behind. But, at evening’s end, Morris said the displays, along with the new friends her family made that night, seemed to welcome them to the city.
Older children played volleyball and chase on the grass beside the school building. People lined up for Kona Icees. Cellphone cameras documented family, grouped together as families do.
The evening started with live music, on a trailer, and that brought out the best in cooperation. It was the opening act, Gold Saw, who provided the sound equipment, and the final musician, Larry Martin, who provided the trailer. Gold Saw is made up of five Van Alstyne High School students and brought their brand of rock out for all. Austin Michael Robinson, the Van Alstyne country teenager who was seen on the most recent “American Idol,” played next. Martin, also from Van Alstyne, played solo and kept the music going until it was almost fireworks time.
“The music was fun,” Nena Sconyers, visiting local family with her daughter, Riley, said. “I loved the variety of acts that performed.”
The town’s scouts, Troop 44 and Pack 6, presented the flags while Martin sang the National Anthem. The best in parenting showed as even the smallest toddlers did their best to stand still for the ceremony, hands held to hearts as best they could.
During the few minutes between the ceremony and the first firework’s upward whiz, people watched as at least three other fireworks displays arched around the freshly-manicured high school field.
And then the main event blasted off. The field north of the parking lot came alive with excitement, color, shapes and sounds and remained that way for 25 minutes. Sconyers, from Bells, added that the lengthy show was “quality, very well done.”
And the best of Van Alstyne was obvious, too, to those, including firefighters, who policed the grounds after everyone left.
“I didn’t find any trash at all when I drove around the property,” Fire Chief Ryan Dockery, who arranged and coordinated the event for the city, said.
Dockery and others in the city are already excited to begin plans for the 2020 Fourth of July Fireworks extravaganza. And Van Alstyne ISD Superintendent David Brown has voiced commitment for the school district to remain involved.