Fire­works and fes­tive fam­i­lies fill down­town for In­de­pen­dence Day

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By isadora Vail

Fire­works dis­play is a hit, B1 Hol­i­day clo­sures and events, B3

For 34 years, H-E-B, the City of Austin and the Austin Sym­phony Or­ches­tra have teamed up for the city’s an­nual fire­works dis­play.

David and Lisa Vyv­jala have at­tended the show ev­ery year for more than two decades, de­spite Austin’s un­pre­dictable weather.

“We’ve been here when it was steam­ing hot and when it was pour­ing rain, but it is re­ally nice to see some grass here this year,” Lisa Vyv­jala said be­fore the 23-minute fire­works show at Au­di­to­rium Shores. “This is one of the few things that the city still hosts that is fam­ily-ori­ented.”

De­spite the rainy weather Austin saw over the past week, the skies cleared up and the tem­per­a­tures rose just in time for the city to have a sum­mery Fourth of July.

Food, drink and art stands lined Au­di­to­rium Shores, but the long­est line was for wa­ter.

Chil­dren donned glit­tery stars on their cheeks, and red, Aaron Mueller gets fed some wa­ter­melon by son Jack dur­ing the South River City Cit­i­zens event Sun­day. More pho­tos and video of the fun at

white and blue at­tire. Some kids played Fris­bee or base­ball while their par­ents fanned them­selves in an at­tempt to cool off from the 90-de­gree weather.

Gianna Mares, 7, wore a sparkling head­band and cheer­leader out­fit that she said she picked out her­self.

Be­fore the show be­gan, she danced to the mu­sic of the Austin Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, which is cel­e­brat­ing its 100th an­niver­sary this year.

“My fa­vorite part is when I get to pop fire­works,” Gianna said, stressing the ‘I.’

The city dis­play usu­ally brings out about 100,000 spec­ta­tors. By 8 p.m., both the Congress Av­enue and South First Street bridges were packed with on­look­ers.

Dozens of peo­ple in ca­noes, boats and kayaks on Lady Bird Lake paused to watch the fire­works.

Tammy West, who pad­dled up with four other kayak­ers, said the best way to get to the fes­tiv­i­ties is by boat.

“Look at the lake, and then look at the shore,” West said. “Then again, I like to watch the flow­ers and the birds and just en­joy the ride.”

West and the other kayak­ers rested for a minute be­fore de­cid­ing to get back in their boats to watch the dis­play.

“It’s just so pretty out on the lake, and the breeze makes it so nice,” West said.

Just be­fore 9:30 p.m., the fire­works be­gan and the or­ches­tra played along, pro­vid­ing a live sound track to the py­rotech­nic dis­play.

James Brosher

Fire­works ex­plode over Lady Bird Lake as part of the city’s an­nual In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tion, which also in­cluded a per­for­mance of pa­tri­otic tunes by the Austin Sym­phony Or­ches­tra at Au­di­to­rium Shores. See more pho­tos and video from the fire­works at

Jar­rad Hen­der­son

Ralph Bar­rera pho­tos

Har­ri­son Meckel, 3, has the per­fect perch atop dad Tip Meckel’s shoul­ders as he walks in the Barton Hills pa­rade Sun­day morn­ing. ‘We’ve lived in Austin for 10 years but just moved to this neigh­bor­hood. It’s our first time,’ Meckel said. Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr was grand mar­shal.

Mas­ter of cer­e­monies Sara Hick­man kicks off the Barton Hills Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­a­tion’s hol­i­day pa­rade.

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