A night of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’

By Keith Strange

July 5, 2014

The men firing off the fireworks at Veteran’s Memorial Park Friday evening as part of the Mount Airy Fourth of July celebration had one message for the crowd — get ready.

“It’s going to be a blast, literally,” Shooter Colin McGuire of Hale Artificier, the company providing this years pyrotechnics, said with a sly smile.

He didn’t disappoint.

As he sweatily checked and re-checked the more than 300 three-inch mortar shells, the 120 or so four-inch shells, 75 five-inch shells and 30 of the big boys — the six-inch shells, McGuire and Jesse Doby of Lexington said the holiday is one of their favorites.

“It’s fun,” Doby said. “We’re going to have a blast putting on this show.”

The grounds of Veteran’s Memorial Park quickly filled as the afternoon turned to evening with young and old alike coming out to celebrate the holiday.

While some chose to sit in chairs and groove to the sounds of The Soulshine Band, who wowed the crowd with gospel, country and vintage rock and roll, others munched on burgers, funnel cake, cotton candy, ice cream and shaved ice.

Over here a couple tossed around a frisbee while over there families, many still decked out in red, white and blue, tossed around a football or baseball.

It was a scene of community not lost on Mary Jo White and Blanche Waddell, two of a group of seniors who line dance weekly at a local community center and also compete in the dancing division of the Yadkin Valley Senior Games.

They could be found showing up children much younger while dancing on an adjacent stage.

“For the fun of it, of course,” White said during a very-brief break from dancing. “We just love the fun, music and fellowship with our community.”

For White and Waddell, the event was also about the tunes.

“This band is great,” Waddell said. “We’d never seen them before, but we will certainly see them again.”

The pair said they come every year and are always inspired by what they see.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see,” White said as she looked over the crowd.

“To see families out having fun together, fellowshipping with their neighbors and meeting new people in a place like this, it’s great.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.