A Fabulous Fourth of July! by Kelly Gee
The history of America is rich and varied. The celebration of July 4th brings all the colors and textures of that history into the celebration of our independence. Pride in our country is evident in the bunting draped homes and city buildings, the flags flying proudly, and the firecrackers flashing in the night skies of every small community, town and large city as citizens cheer with oohs and aahs.
July 4th celebrates the adoption of our Declaration of Independence (1776) – a major accomplishment in the birth of our nation. For many years Americans did not celebrate the 4th, but President John Adams began inspiring the country to celebrate July 4th in 1817. Many years later the Congress voted to make it a national holiday. From that day until this, individuals, families, and communities have contributed their unique traditions, customs and culture to the landscape of the American holiday.
Early Chinese fireworks makers brought their best work to the forefront for the revelry; European immigrants brought foods and family traditions to the shared merriment with dancing and music, sausage and cheese making, festive cooking and décor, family gatherings and commemoration of the history of the struggles in their new homeland, America.
Parades began in the cities and summer rodeos and round-ups came from the landscape of the west. Traditions, customs, folklore, and practices were shaped and melded in the melting pot of a growing country with diversity and cooperation working together. Many languages, variety of colors and cultures, fusing of music and foods of great diversity all add to the landscape of a truly unique American holiday.
In Port O’Connor, July 4th, 2016 was no different, and the result was simply amazing. Festivities began on Saturday, July 2nd with the Port O’Connor Volunteer Fire Department sponsoring an early morning run and then serving a record numbers of people massive amounts of food to raise money for better community service. Business owners, including POC Rod and Gun and Speedy Stop, reported huge crowds. Rentals were virtually unavailable; the Sheriff’s Department utilized more service and man hours than any recent year’s account; water demand was high and the digital network of cell and cable was taxed to the limit. Beach front and nearby property owners saw large crowds and increased vehicle and foot traffic over recent years.
The fireworks show was larger and more spectacular than ever and was enjoyed by record numbers. It appears our community was pushing maximum capacity. Still, young and old alike celebrated and commemorated a great nation.
No matter how many media outlets report negative stories of race conflicts, political corruption, cultural clashes and economic issues, the story of the nation remains the same. Passionate people fought to establish a home and country that reflected their thirst for freedom and choice and struggled to establish a great nation.
In the scope of history, our country is young and still growing. While the growing pains may be distressful and often discouraging, we have an impressive history leading to a great future and positive tomorrow.
Each of us has a duty to actively participate. Vote, volunteer, serve, get involved, and yes, wave your flag and shoot those rockets high. This amazing country, we love, The United States of America, is worth celebrating.
Hope you didn’t miss the celebration!
Sparkles Over The Bay
Have you ever given it much thought of how our awesome fireworks show takes place, how it is funded,who does it? If your answer is “not really” well that is the very answer that I would have given up until a few years ago when I was asked to come on board as the President of the Chamber.
It is now a little over three years later, and I must say I never dreamed of being in this position this long. But when you have such a great group of people, it makes it a lot easier to make things happen and get things done.
So, back to the fireworks over Matagorda Bay. The first year the show magically happened. I had very little hands on with the event. I remember that night thinking how easy this all happened and being impressed with how smoothly it all happened! Year two I did get my hands in it a little more –just enough to see that a lot of folks make this happen and do not expect any recognition – along with ALL the donors. So year three – I made a decision to be in the mix of things for most of the day.
I will try to recap how all of this takes place. Darla Parker gets up at dawn and goes down to get the vendors situated. In the past years there was no organized area so she has taken this on along with taking care of the vendors turning off generators once show starts. Years before, generators ran during the whole event, causing some folks to be unhappy.
Around 10:00 a.m. the fireworks setup crew, which consists of about 10 people, and the grounds cleanup people start their day in the terrible heat. The setup takes about seven hours to complete. Then they have to stay and remove all of the tubes and debris from the pier.
I rode down to the beach area at 11:45 p.m. to find them still loading the tubes back into the truck and the cleanup crew still taking trash to the dumpsters.
The next morning at 8:30 -12 of us met back at the beach for the final cleanup. While I am there I see a message on FB letting me and the world know that the beach had trash. I kindly asked that they please give us a little time to get the job finished as we were working our way down the beach. Twelve people cleaning up after 1000’s of folks – well you can only imagine!
I do not want to leave anyone out when I say Thank You .So please know that everyone that had anything to do with making this show happen, you are greatly appreciated and the Port O’Connor Chamber of Commerce wants to give you a HUGE THANK YOU!
This year we decided to do a raffle to help us offset our expenses. This brought in approximately $3,000.00.
If you enjoyed the show and would like to make a donation please send to Chamber of Commerce, P.O.Box 701, POC TX 77982. This event is 100% donations . We will also be looking for folks to help with next years event. The more help we have the less work it makes for all of us involved.
Kudos to all that donated to this event in anyway –it would not happen without your support!
Mary Jo Walker and Chamber Team