Thousands go downtown for fireworks‘The weather was a blessing’
Published 11:59 am Thursday, July 5, 2012
Clouds blocked the sun and a cool breeze blew through downtown Wednesday evening as thousands gathered for the culmination of Red, White and Blues, Vicksburg’s annual Fourth of July celebration.
Vicksburg police Chief Walter Armstrong estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people headed to spots near the Yazoo Diversion Canal to hear music and see fireworks to salute the Fourth of July.
“I believe we did really well this year,” said Joe Graves, city recreation director. “The weather was a blessing, it’s not near as hot as it could have been.”
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Temperatures stayed in the low 80s during the show, which began at 7 p.m. with music by the R & B group Compozitionz. The band, which played music similar to that of The Temptations, performed until just before 9 p.m., when the city-sponsored fireworks show began.
“We just enjoy it every time we come,” said Kenneth Trahan of Fort Worth, Texas, who returned to his hometown for the holiday.
“The weather is so nice, and everything down here is wonderful this year,” he said.
The fireworks lasted 30 minutes and cost the City of Vicksburg $30,000, Graves said. Last year, the show was delayed about 15 minutes because of bad weather, but no problems were reported this year.
“The weather last time put a damper on everything,” Graves said. “It wasn’t the same since we had to wait, but that’s not a problem this year.”
Shannon Purvis of Vicksburg said she goes to the event every year.
“I’ve been coming since it started,” she said. “We really enjoy the fireworks and the band, and it turned out really nice.”
There were other events leading up to the Wednesday night fireworks extravaganza sponsored by the Vicksburg Blues Society, and Shirley Waring, a member of the society, said everything went well.
“I see our participation growing,” Waring said. “We’re building Red, White and Blues to be an event that encompasses several days during the week.”
Red, White and Blues, in its sixth year in Vicksburg, includes a Willie Dixon birthday celebration, hosted this year at the Ameristar Bottleneck Blues Bar Sunday night. Dixon was a Vicksburg native and blues artist whom Waring said was instrumental in the development of the genre.
“We had a wonderful turnout Sunday night,” Waring said. “It was good, they had a good crowd.”
Waring said the Vicksburg Blues Society also featured Blues at LD’s Kitchen downtown, a concert by Sounds Unlimited.
“It was a packed house,” Waring said. “We were very pleased.”
Graves said he hopes to see the Red, White and Blues weekend grow in the future.
“We want to produce a quality product for the people of Vicksburg,” Graves said. “That’s what we want, for the people to be able to come out and have fun.”