The fun of the Fourth

Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I have to say, there is something about the Fourth of July in Suffolk.

Covering the city’s Independence Day events, I was out and about all day hanging out everywhere from Eclipse to Main Street.

And let me tell you, the city really does come alive for the Fourth of July.

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When you’re up north, it is like a giant block party — except you don’t have to live on the block to enjoy the party. People just want to have a fun day with a few thousand of their friends.

If you have not seen the Crittenden Raft Race, then please go ahead and mark your calendar for 3 p.m. July 4, 2010.

It takes a special type of person to make a raft by hand, and then to throw that watercraft in the water to race it with the hope of winning. Yet that’s exactly what dozens of people do each and every year. They take to the water to the cheers and harassment from the hundreds of spectators watching ashore.

In truth, the crowds at the raft race are a lot like the crowds of the Roman Coliseum. They are much more excited and entertained at watching the boat go down, than by seeing the novice sailors make it all the way.

But it’s not just the North end that knows how to have fun.

By the time the downtown concert has kicked off, people have been to the beach, the barbecues and the pool parties. By then, they are just looking for a relaxing night of music, friends and fireworks. And it’s a cool thing to see hundreds of people populate Constant’s Wharf all to ring in the Fourth together.

But my absolute favorite celebration of the day came a little bit later on the Fourth.

After a day of picture-taking and writing, I came back to the office and dropped off my camera bag and notebooks. I went home, changed into a pair of jeans and my ratty Old Dominion t-shirt and met up with one of my friends for dinner. As we were driving down Main Street, our attention was brought to the Farm Fresh parking lot.

There, sitting in beach chairs, coolers and in the beds of their pick up trucks, about a dozen families huddled together to get a view of the fireworks. Forget about the inflatable bouncy castles or the overpriced beer and hot dogs. These people were surrounded by the people they love, watching the sky explode in light above them, making memories to last the summer.

It really doesn’t get more American than that, does it?

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Fourth, and I’ll see you out there next year!