For Lucy and Matt Anzaldua, the best moments of the Fourth of July are spent dancing.

The couple made their way to the Victoria Community Center grounds Thursday evening for the annual Fourth of July Miller Lite Blastoff event, and within minutes, the two were right in front of the band, leading the dance floor.

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“We love the music and the fireworks today, but the country songs are really the best part,” said Matt Anzaldua, in between dances. “We just love the music.”

The Victoria couple have been married for about nine months and have been attending the event together for the past five years.

“It’s a blast,” Lucy Anzaldua said. “Everybody gets together; there’s hot dogs, kids running around and it’s so much fun.”

The Anzalduas were just one of many families who gathered outside at the center Thursday to celebrate Independence Day. The annual event, which is hosted by the city of Victoria and Hartman Distributing, has been a Crossroads favorite for decades.

Around the celebration, American flags waved in the wind and friends and families – many covered in red, white and blue – spread out blankets, sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed the summer evening.

Scott and Michele Balfanz said they have been coming to the event on and off for more than 30 years. The two sat together close to the stage early on during the event.

“We love hanging out and seeing the fireworks later,” Michele Balfanz said.

“And it’s just all about independence here,” Scott Balfanz added.

As the event began at 6 p.m., the John Christopher Way Band played traditional country dance music, and even had the crowd join in singing The Outfields’ favorite “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight.” Later on, neotraditional country singer-songwriter Randall King was scheduled to take the stage.

While enjoying the live music, some attendees played cornhole and other outdoor games, and many devoured food from one of the many food trucks parked at the event. Popular food options included The Fry Shack, Jay’s Cook Shack, Trevino’s Funnel Cakes and Snowie Lucky and Lulu’s Shaved Ice.

The Blastoff event was just one of many celebrations taking place on the holiday. Parades, barbecues, community festivities and fireworks shows happened around the Crossroads region Thursday.

Jeanne Hartsfield enjoyed the Blastoff celebration with family members including her daughter and two grandsons. She said the Fourth of July is a “family favorite holiday.”

“We love the fireworks and the music is usually great out here,” she said.

Up to 4,000 people were expected to come by the event throughout the course of the night, Colby VanGundy, Victoria’s director of parks and recreation said previously.

Rigo Juarez, who works part time for the city’s parks and recreation department, said the event Thursday was going smoothly.

“It’s going really good,” he said. “Hopefully it get’s even busier as the night goes on.”

Energy picked up among the crowds as the night eased closer to the fireworks show, which was being put on by Zambelli International Fireworks. Though the explosive ending was marking the end of the annual celebration, other holiday festivities will continue around the Crossroads through the weekend.

During a quick break from dancing, Lucy and Matt Anzaldua said they planned to stay for the fireworks, and would likely continue their tradition of watching the show from the back of their truck in the parking lot.

“It’s all about freedom,” Lucy Anzaldua said. “We love it.”

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, mtheophil@vicad.com or on Twitter

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