Independence Day celebrated

Area residents and community members came out to Memorial Park Friday to celebrate the birth of the country. While the weather was a bit cooler than earlier in the week, it did not stop people from taking to the shores of Lake Erie.

Various vendors – from cotton candy to curly fries and pizza to lemonade stands – set up shop early in the afternoon and continued well into evening. Yolanda Whitmore noticed there were not as many vendors in previous years, noting a toy vendor and P&G Foods were among those missing.

Even with the start of the fireworks show hours away, by mid-afternoon residents were claiming their prime watching spots. One resident even exclaimed, “Don’t sit there. The trees are in the way!” Whitmore had picked her spot with her family similar to as she has in the past. She said she always sits between three trees near a picnic table. Whitmore, along with her family, plan to stay in their location until the fireworks begin.

“We’ve sat here the last 20 years. There’s shade if the sun gets too hot and there’s a picnic table so we can eat,” she said.

Allie and Daniel Cook, ages 8 and 7 respectively, were overlooking Lake Erie in the afternoon. The pair would leave with family only to come back later in the evening. Nancy Mitchell and Ed McClenathan were also among the residents who had already claimed their spot. While the couple waited for the fireworks to begin, McClenathan was reading aloud to Mitchell, who traveled from Williamsville. According to McClenathan, a Fredonia resident, the couple has been claiming their seats early in the afternoon for many years. Mitchell did add the couple may move from their coveted location right in front.

The Fourth of July weekend festivities kicked off with Music on the Pier and will continue today with the Wreck and Roll Festival starting at 1 p.m. The weekend’s events are sponsored by the city of Dunkirk and corporate partners: Brooks Memorial Hospital, Shults Resale Center, Advanced Production Group, Dunkirk Chamber of Commerce, Coors Light, NRG Energy, DFT Communications and National Grid.

Comments on this article may be sent to smcdonnell@observertoday.com