Victoria has a blow out Fourth
July 4, 2011 at 2:04 a.m.
WHAT A CROWDBetween 7,500 and 10,000 spectators gathered on Monday evening in and around the Victoria Mall parking lot to celebrate the birth of the nation, Victoria Police Department Lt. Michael Beyer said.
Beyer said there were no significant incidents during the event. It took the crowd about an hour and 15 minutes to disperse, Beyer said.
A shiver of anticipation moved through the crowd as the sky turned from blue to black, and the lights around the Victoria Mall parking lot flicked off.
The national anthem began playing through the loudspeakers and audience members stood up, hands over their hearts while the music played.
Then the first round of fireworks zoomed into the night sky, erupting in a blaze of red, white and blue.
Dawn Schendel looked slightly dazed as she stared up at the colorful sky and listened to the music. As Ray Charles' version of "America, the Beautiful" played, she smiled.
"I usually have to work, so I haven't seen any fireworks for the past three years. It's great," she said.
Before the fireworks started, live music thrummed, while the smells of barbecue and funnel cake filled the air.
The mall parking lot and the surrounding area was packed with eager spectators by the time the fireworks started at 9:30 p.m.
Stephanie Urbano bounced her nephew Braylon Davis, 2, on her hip as she swayed to the music.
Her family attended the fireworks show last year and had such a good time they knew what they'd be doing this year.
"It's a lot of fun. The fireworks show is like every other Victoria gathering. You get out and see everyone, and it's something you can bring your kids and your family to and know everyone will be safe and have a good time," Urbano said.
The Mullens family, with their black and white Great Dane, Oakley, moved through the crowd holding trash can potatoes - large piles of potatoes, curled and fried - looking for a place to sit to enjoy their food, the music and the upcoming fireworks.
Roy Mullens said he and his family make a point of celebrating the holiday.
"I was in the military, so I always want to get out and celebrate the Fourth," Mullens said.
Doug and Kimberly Wagner got to the mall at 7 p.m. to get a good spot. The couple and children Drake Frankson, 14, and Vinson Ferran, 14, watched the fireworks seated in lawn chairs in the back of their Dodge truck.
Celebrating the holiday is about patriotism, Kimberly Wagner said.
"What is this holiday about, Drake?" Wagner asked her son.
"It's about patriotism. That's what God put us on the earth for, and that's what we're here for," Drake said.
Wagner smiled and nodded.
"That's right. The fireworks and everything, that's what it's all about."