It seems like every year I’m always looking for a big huge fireworks extravaganza to go checkout with the family. I have scoped out everything from Altamonte Springs, to Tampa’s festivities. Despite all of my planning, research, and desire to see something new, there is just something about our hometown annual fireworks show that can’t be matched in the big cities.
There is something magical about spending an evening with your family relaxing by the riverside, catching a cool breeze, and watching the little guys run around. This year was especially fun because it was our youngest’s first time really getting to watch fireworks. Last year we were pretty much washed out by the weather and he was really a bit too young to really enjoy it anyway. This year we decided to go to the same place we have been going for years: Manatee Park in New Smyrna Beach.
We arrived early this year. Too early in fact, but sometimes it’s just easier to tell the Mrs. “Yes Dear” and load up in the car than it is to explain that we have hours left to nap on the couch. So there we were at about 5:30 in our lawn chairs waiting. and waiting, and waiting some more. Slowly but surely people trickled into the park, right before show time.
We were particularly impressed with a local community church called Salty Church that really went above and beyond. Being one of the hottest days on record, they decided to show up in force and distribute free bottles of water as a community service. We were impressed that not only did they bring water, but also garbage and recycling cans with them as they kept everyone hydrated throughout the afternoon and evening. I thought this was a great way to get their name out there, and everyone seemed genuinely grateful. I think their strategy of “no strings attached” water was great, as you didn’t need to listen to a religious pitch, take flyers, or anything else generally associated with spreading a religious message. I could hear a few folks asking about the church, but they weren’t pushy, and only offered information if asked. Kudos to them for the community service, it didn’t go unnoticed by our family!
As it got darker the sky began to light up in seemingly every direction. The town south had their big extravaganza at dusk, and you could see bits and pieces of their display as well as people shooting off their own fireworks all across the New Smyrna Beachside as well as lots of boats in the river. You could hear the echo of the booms from the South Causeway bridge which made for an awesome effect!
As the skies lit up, I could see the reflection on the faces of my entire family. The boys, the Mrs. even my sister’s family and mother in law all had a chance to take in a great evening in celebration of our country’s birthday! Who knows, maybe we’ll pack up next year drive across the state and head to a gigantic fireworks display, or maybe we’ll just stay local and enjoy a true slice of the American dream in our own little corner of Florida.