Editor’s note: Vy is the 2014 valedictorian of Richmond Hill High School and is freelancing this summer for the Bryan County News before she heads off to Rice.
The annual Richmond Hill Fourth of July celebration, held at the J.F. Gregory Park on Saturday, July 5 was a definite success for the community.
Despite the bit of rain at the beginning of the evening, the unpromising weather did not hinder people from attending the event and having a good time.
In fact, the event attracted more people than ever this year.
Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 people attended, which was exponentially greater than previous years, organizer Linda Phillips said.
Everyone arrived decked out in their red, white, and blue, wearing patriotic shirts, hats, and decorative accessories.
Hundreds of people packed the park and pavilion enjoying the patriotic festivities that included lots of food and fun leading up to the famous fireworks show.
Families spent the evening playing football or cornhole, eating hot dogs and hamburgers, and lounging around listening to live entertainment provided by The Tams.
Kids of all ages enjoyed the inflatable water rides and pony rides, pausing their fun only for a few minutes to indulge in fresh watermelon or warm funnel cakes sold at the farmers’ market. Children also were able to participate in arts and crafts and have their faces painted by the local vendors.
This year’s celebration was bigger and better than previous years as it added more family-friendly games and activities as well as larger community involvement, especially with the new addition of the farmer’s market of which Richmond Hill has been proud to introduce.
The farmer’s market included vendors selling fresh produce, barbecue food, and baked goods. Multiple vendors even sold out due to the success of the large turnout.
Councilman Russ Carpenter, enjoying the festivities with family and friends, spoke of the city’s plans to expand the event to attract larger crowds.
Carpenter said the city hopes to add more vendors and entertainment options for children.
“It’s always a family-oriented event, so we hope to make it bigger and bigger every year. I believe that it is important to ensure that [the event] is friendly and inviting to families of all ages and also to parent’s wallets,” he said.
At the end of the night, people rushed into town to watch the fireworks display, the highlight of the evening.
Fortunately, the stormy skies cleared up just in time for the explosive display of fireworks. The spectacular 30-minute show began at 9 p.m., lighting up the night sky as viewers watched from the park as well as from the streets.
The endless streaks of red, white, and blue across the sky were the perfect end to the Independence Day celebration.