Fourth of July brings thousands out to waterfrontPublished 6:05pm Saturday, July 5, 2014
For much of the week, organizers of the downtown Washington Fourth of July celebration didn’t know if it would go on, but Hurricane Arthur moved through on Thursday night, the skies cleared and the celebration went on as scheduled.
On Friday morning, Beth Byrd, director of the Washington Harbor District Alliance, announced the evening events would go on as planned.
“You make all these plans and then you throw them all up in the air and you hope you come up with a good event when a hurricane happens to come through the night before,” Byrd said.
As word spread, many people came out early to find a good spot on the lawn at Festival Park. Most came for the fireworks, but those who got there early found a good spot for the laser light show and to hear the band Spare Change play on the park’s main stage.
The event drew people from near and far, including out-of-state attendees Dave Raducha and his wife. From Syracuse, N.Y., they travel South to the Washington area to vacation.
“We come down here every year just for the Fourth,” Raducha said. “We’re going to eventually retire in this area to get away from the cold North.”
Closer to home, Hannah McCormick and Chris Martin drove from Greenville to watch the fireworks display and to hear the free concert on the Washington waterfront.
“We come out yearly for the festivities in Little Washington. We’re from Greenville, so we just come out here and enjoy the riverfront and everything else,” McCormick said.
One of McCormick and Martin’s favorite parts of the night was listening to the band Spare Change. Martin said they have seen the group in concert many times and wanted to hear the band again.
For nearly three hours, concertgoers danced and sang in front of the gazebo where Spare Change played cover songs.
When the music came to an end after sunset, the laser show and fireworks took over as entertainment. “Oohs” and “Ahhs” could be heard from the crowd as the first round of fireworks went off.
“This is nice, really a nice thing to do and it was a wonderful night,” said Sheri Benedetto.