About 4,000 people reveled in the Fourth of July sparkling spectacle held at Airport Park. It began at 5:00 p.m. and lasted till about 9:30 p.m. culminating in fireworks dazzlement.
”When we started this company four years ago, it was important to us to be able to give back to the community and that’s what this is all about,” said Carl Will, an event sponsor.
“We want to pay it forward,” said Lisa McAteer, also a sponsor. “We raised five thousand dollars for the first responders and a few thousand for a new scoreboard and PA system. We had fire departments from all the townships, paramedics and ambulances at the event to make it safe for everyone.”
Councilman John Maney, Paramedic Kyle Wright, and EMT Megan Irwin were among these.
Although some communities in the county had fireworks displays, Pike County had no official Fourth of July celebration. People came with their families and sat on lawn chairs, benches and blankets.
Also, three food trucks appeared--The Grill, Sip and Serve Mobile and Angus 83 from Port Jervis, serving, hot dogs, brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, and snacks.
“Many people will not be able to take a summer vacation this year because of the gas prices and inflation. We tried to provide some special memories of fireworks and celebration,” said McAteer.
Alex McAteer remembered childhood Fourth of July celebrations where he stood next to his family in amazement.
“I enjoy putting on this event because I want to create similar memories for other families,” he said.
Vendors offered games, merchandise such as books, jewelry and cosmetics, as well as financial aid information. McAteer’s father’s business, Cambridge Pavers, was also represented.
One of the most popular events was the dunk tank sponsored by Bilach Plumbing. People paid $5 for one ball or $10 for three to try to dunk the person in the tank into the water. That game itself raised $656 dollars.
“The one thing in this world that makes me teary-eyed is the Fourth of July and fireworks, because there’s nothing I’m more proud of than being American,” said Dan Bilach.
Richard and Leanne LaPalme, owners of the Candy and Gift Cottage in Apple Valley Village, which has been in Milford for over three years, also showed up.
“We reached out to join the event so that we could support Lisa and the community,” Leanne LaPalme said.
Many vendors were new businesses encouraged to come by Lisa McAteer. Christine Jensen, from Tree House, was there with her books and toys for children.
The actual fireworks were preceded by the “Star Spangled Banner” and Katy Perry’s song, “Fireworks,” a feel-good anthem and Fourth of July staple since its release in 2010:
“Do you know there’s still a chance for you?
‘Cause there’s a spark in you
You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July.”
On this cue, McAteer pressed the button to start the show that lit up the sky.
The “wows,” the “ohs” and the “ahs” came as fast as the fireworks.
“The Fourth of July is a special day for me,” said Will. “I truly believe in our country’s founding principles as the greatest democracy in the world. On the Fourth, I take time to reflect on that. I hope all who joined us share the same sentiment and left tonight feeling invigorated as a patriot.”