By Lacy Hilliard
On July Fourth, 1776 America officially declared its independence from Great Britain. Every year since, citizens across the United States honor the 237-year-old tradition of Fourth of July celebration. Though the nature of this annual celebration has evolved over the years, the reason for recognition has remained unchanged.
This years Chamber of Commerce Independence Day celebrations were perhaps bigger and better than ever before. The celebrations began with a parade down Main Street in Mountain City. The parade played host to classic cars, colorful floats, and all the expected fanfare; a fitting opener to a fun-filled day of music, festival-style food, and fireworks.
Though the parade was the official kick-off, several activities took place in Ralph Stout Park prior. A horseshoe tournament, an iron skillet throwing competition, and performances by Colton Fenner as well as Laurel Creek Trail Bluegrass Band were just a few of the pre-parade activities. The events just grew richer as the evening marched on. Taylor Parsons gave a performance of Its a Grand Ole Flag as well as My Country Tis of Thee under the direction of Lisa Zeggert. Parsons, dressed at Betsy Ross, carried out a lovely performance as she sat in a rocking chair, sewing the American Flag. Hilarity ensued during the Duck Dynasty Look Alike contest and Billy Gambill of Billy Gambill Entertainment kept the party going all day long as he provided a diverse array of music that showcased a bit of something for everyone. Gambills performance with his band Persons, Animals and Things later in the evening was a wonderful prelude to the evenings main event– the fireworks.
Clear skies paved the way to a miraculous display of color and power in the best fireworks show Mountain City has hosted in years. The night sky was lit up with every color of the rainbow and the surrounding mountains echoed each boom and crackle. Just when the crowd thought the show was over, yet more red rockets could be seen shooting through the air only to end in epic bursts of color. The grand finale was massive and well carried out, leaving the crowd amazed at the impressive display.
The Chamber of Commerce Fourth of July celebration was a wonderful tribute to the American Spirit. The event was well organized and fun for the entire family. Each year, as we spend time with family and friends in honor of our forefathers, we would do well to remember our freedoms. Americans enjoy more freedoms than any other citizens of the world. Without persecution of religion, gender, or race, we have thrived as a nation. Though this country has struggled to obtain certain freedoms and struggles to this day to maintain them, the fact remains that we have the right to disagree with government decisions and fight to change them without fear of losing our freedoms or our lives.
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