Firework show ends patriotic day

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 3, 2004

Pike County turned July 3 into a patriotic celebration that built throughout the day and was highlighted by a gigantic fireworks display at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium.

"It's so loud and the fireworks are so bid," 12-year-old Jonathan Whitehead said. "My favorite part was the grand finale. They just kept going and going."

The 20-minute fireworks display drew a loud ovation from the crowd estimated at 3,000. "They lit it up," one observer said.

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The day in Pike County was full of events that saluted family events from picnics to parades to produce.

The fifth annual China Grove parade was full of the sights, sounds and smells of what the Independence Day holiday is all about.

A spectator, asked what the Fourth means to her, put it best.

"It's a time for families, fishing, fireworks, parades, watermelon eating and the smell of barbecue," Donna Evens said. "It's a time to celebrate American and our freedom."

Many people came to this small town just to see the sights of China Grove.

"I think this is so great especially since I get to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the parade," Franklin Brabham said. "Last year I didn't get to come but this year has been wonderful and I hope I'll be around for many more of them."

Jordan Chancey, 13, said she likes to come to see all the people.

"It's so fun. You get candy and a chance to see a lot of people," she said. "All the people in China Grove are so nice and our family likes being here."

The parade had over 150 units, according to Hank LaFountain, who said this year's parade was better than last year's.

"This crowd is a great one. They are clean, courteous and just great people," LaFountain said. "We have to have at least the same number of people out here as we did last year."

All the entries were good from a lady swirling a baton, to the horseback riders, to the motorcycles, the cars and the fire engines, one could say they saw it all in the China Grove parade.

Parade goers were able to get a fresh slice of watermelon from Jimmy Dean, something cool to drink from Macedonia Baptist Church, a plat of the famous ribs or chicken from "Chicken" Harvis and have a good time as the parade came through town.

One of the organizers of the parade said she was glad to see so many faces.

"I have enjoyed seeing all the new faces out here and all the old ones," Diane LaFountain said. "It's been a great day and I want to thank all the people for coming out and having a good time with us. It takes a lot of work to put on a parade but all the neighbors have helped and we have fun doing it."

The day's grand finale was anything but a dud when the city of Troy put on its annual fireworks show.

"God Bless America," were Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford's first words to the crowd.

Most people attended because the fireworks have become a family tradition and fun. Troy police officer Steven Dukes said he was glad to be out with his family to view the show.

"It was a great show, great weather, and I had a great time," Dukes said. "I am usually working it but I'm not tonight and it's just nice to be with my family and enjoy the Fourth."

"This is a great and fun family tradition," Samantha Kitchens said. "The show was very bright and colorful."

She drew agreement from others.

"It's so cool," 11-year-old Zack Tillery said. "The fireworks are the best thing about the fourth of July."