By: Sarah Scinto, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
WILKES-BARRE — As area residents looked to the sky, anticipating a festive fireworks display, Nancy Sanderson listened to the musicians of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic warm up for the evening.
The ensemble’s executive director, Sanderson said the group looks forward to performing at the city’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration every year.
“This is a fun concert,” she said.
The group prepared a selection of patriotic music and music by American composers for the evening, culminating in a performance of the 1812 Overture to kick off the evening’s fireworks display, Sanderson said.
“At the end, when canons are supposed to go off, that’s when the fireworks will go off in the air,” she said.
People flocked to Kirby Park throughout the day Monday to enjoy the food, games, rides and fireworks at the celebration, which opened at noon. MaryAnne Spellman, a former special events coordinator for the city, said city crews had been on site since 8 a.m. to set up for the day.
“We’ve had great crowds,” she said. “Everyone is very happy.”
This year’s event had 20 food vendors, 10 craft vendors and about seven game booths beyond what the amusement ride company provided for the event. Spellman said “thousands” usually come out to enjoy the fireworks.
“It’s a family event,” she said. “People love to get out.”
The family nature of the event keeps Daveina Perry of Nanticoke coming back every year. She sat with her son, eating funnel cake, in front of an orange fence separating the crowd from the firework shells.
“We come every year, it’s beautiful,” she said. “There are others in the area but we always choose to come here.”
Perry said the crowd appeared a bit thinner than usual at Monday’s event — possibly because of the threat of rain. She said the rain wouldn’t stop her from continuing her annual tradition.
“It’s a family tradition for us,” she said.