Summer Party With Sky The Limit For Fourth Of July
Undated (AP) _ From the flutter of flags for the space shuttle Discovery to the thunder of fireworks at dawn over a California beach, Americans coast-to-coast celebrated the Fourth of July holiday with parades, picnics, concerts and festivals.
″The mood’s definitely good, because instead of moaning about the drought, we’re celebrating a lot of good things that have happened this year,″ said Roy B. Schmidt of Brownsville, Ind.
But the drought did leave its mark on the festivities. Many communities across the Midwest and the Great Plains canceled fireworks displays because of the fire danger.
The Democratic presidential candidates joined a quarter-million other people for fireworks and a concert in Boston, while President Reagan was host to federal workers for the annual fireworks display in the nation’s capital.
On Chicago’s North Side, Ted Kamberos rose with the sun and planted 1,000 plastic U.S. flags in the strip of grass along the sidewalks in a six-block area near DePaul University.
″It’s basically a patriotic gesture and a way for me to say ‘thank you’ to the neighbors,″ said Kamberos, 40, whose parents immigrated from Greece. ″People wake up and see all the flags in a row, it makes them feel good.″
″It’s a big day,″ said Coung Tran, 23, a Vietnamese refugee who was among some 300 people naturalized as U.S. citizens Monday at Minnesota’s Capital in St. Paul. ″It’s a special day - independence for the country - and I’m glad to be part of it.″
The celebrating started in the middle of the night at Cape Canaveral with a flag-waving sendoff for the space shuttle Discovery’s move to its launch pad.
″America, the dream is still alive,″ astronaut Dave Hilmers told a crowd of several hundred engineers, technicians and others at Kennedy Space Center.
In Southern California, where things are sometimes done a little differently, early risers in Santa Monica enjoyed a spectacular dawn display of fireworks shot over the ocean. Officials estimated 150,000 people gathered on the beach next to the Santa Monica Pier as early as 2 a.m. for the 5 a.m. show.
Spectators weren’t the only people getting up at strange hours for the show, started last year as a crowd control measure. The 65-member Los Angeles Pops gave a rousing performance billed as the world’s first dawn orchestral beach concert.
In the nation’s heartland, hundreds of residents of Coralville, Iowa, lined the streets for the community’s annual Fourth of July parade and applauded a very international procession.
Along with regular staples such as firetrucks, marching bands, floats, clowns and politicians, citizens of the Soviet Union taking part in the American-Soviet Peace Walk marched down the two-mile parade route. And afterward the peace walkers met with residents at a pot luck meal.
About 220 Soviets and 100 Americans are traveling across the country. They started June 17 in Washington, D.C.
Several of the Soviets compared the holiday to their own independence day on Nov. 7, in commemoration of the 1917 revolution. ″But I like it more here because it’s more cozy. People are lying on benches or sitting on chairs in front of their homes,″ said Vladimir Smirnov of Moscow. ″In Moscow, people are more well-dressed, but it’s not as cozy.″
Vice President George Bush left his summer home at Kennebunkport, Maine, to campaign for the day in the Midwest. In a stop at Wyandotte, Mich., a Detroit suburb, he voiced regret over the accidental destruction of an Iranian jetliner but said the incident would not alter U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf.
Bush also went to the Chicago suburb of Elmwood Park, which had a festival where Bush threw darts at balloons to win a little blue elephant holding an American flag.
In Boston, 250,000 people streamed to the Charles River esplanade for the concert by the Boston Pops and the climactic half-hour fireworks display from a barge on the river.
They were joined by Gov. Michael Dukakis, his wife, Kitty, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jackie. The Jacksons earlier dined at the Dukakis’ home.
The prospect of sharing the evening under the stars with two presidential aspirants was thrilling to some people - less so to others.
Leo Iodice of Holliston, Mass., was asked if their presence enhanced his holiday.
″Nah,″ the 35-year-old video producer said, with a shrug.
At the Washington Mall, President Reagan played host to hundreds of White House and Secret Service personnel Monday night as the first family joined their guests in watching the annual fireworks display.
Both the Union Rescue Mission and the Fred Jordan Mission in Los Angeles’ Skid Row organized traditional Fourth of July meals including hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon and pie to feed thousands of homeless people.
″It’s a day to see our inner city neighbors relax, have a good meal and just enjoy themselves,″ said George Caywood, executive director of the Union Mission. ″It’s tough living on the streets ... Our purpose is to help lift people up, encourage them, love them.″
In Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 18,000 people jammed the Saratoga Performing Arts Center to hear Carlos Santana, Miles Davis, Mel Torme and a host of others during 12 hours of Newport Jazz, part of the JVC Jazz Festival.
More than 2,500 members of the Rainbow Family back-to-nature group gathered in Zavalla, Texas, for the group’s 17th annual July Fourth celebration, where they pray for peace, love and harmony.
In Aransas Pass, Texas, officials held the 40th annual Blessing of the Fleet. Mayor Robert Watson said about 500 shrimping vessels ″of all shapes and sizes″ were in the harbor.
″The tradition of blessing the shrimp fleet is so important to this town because that industry is vital to our well-being,″ he said.
Many Wisconsin communities canceled fireworks because of the fire danger, so more than 580,000 people jammed Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shore Sunday for a 4,000-shell display. Traffic was so backed up that people driving into the area after 6 p.m. were ″just basically spinning their wheels,″ said police Sgt. Ken Romels.
In Tennessee, some cities canceled fireworks displays for fear that a stray spark might ignite dry grass. One of the areas hit hardest by the prolonged drought, Franklin and Murfreesboro banned all fireworks - including the cities’ own planned public displays.
An estimated 1.2 million people filled Chicago’s Grant Park on Sunday for that city’s fireworks show over Lake Michigan.
The Indianapolis Fire Department reported more than a 50 percent increase in fire runs over the weekend because of grass fires linked to firecrackers.
Fire officials in Champaign, Ill., said fireworks caused at least four brush fires, despite asking residents not to use fireworks because of the drought.