Mineral Wells Index
By CLINT FOSTER
It's just not the Fourth of July without good food, American flags, and plenty of Chinese-invented explosives. Luckily for citizens of Palo Pinto County, there are many firework shows to round out their celebrations.
For the fifth year, Ram Stadium will host the Mineral Wells Independence Day fireworks display this Thursday. '
The patriotic public is also encouraged to attend the free Second Annual Community Crime and Safety Fair at 5 p.m., coordinated by Pray Mineral Wells and the Mineral Wells Police Department. Later, patrons should have a blanket on hand to cover the hot bleachers on the east side of the football stadium, the perfect place to sit at 8 p.m. and watch "the rockets' red glare."
Chicken Express will again sponsor the fireworks, which will be launched by Lone Star Fireworks out of Graham. Nancy Stuart of Chicken Express did not hesitate when asked why it is important to the company to keep sponsoring the pyrotechnics.
"Well because I love fireworks," she said with a smile. "We just couldn't see Mineral Wells going without their big display. We had to do it for the city and for the enjoyment of the people of Mineral Wells.
"We're really proud that the community gets behind it to make it an enjoyable thing for everyone," she added. "We love seeing all the cars parked and everyone having a good time; that's what it's all about."
County Fire Marshal Buddy Harwell said there are no restrictions on fireworks this year because the drought index is not high enough yet to worry about them in properly mowed areas. He added that people may feel free to pop fireworks in all the unincorporated areas of Palo Pinto County; but he urges those who do to use caution and steer clear of areas with tall grass.
"We're worried about areas with high grass or heavy trees," he said. "Things are drying out every day. I'm also concerned about roadways that haven't been mowed. That scares me with people on the side of the road who aren't supposed to be there."
Harwell insisted that small children should not use fireworks and that people should stay in an area at least 30 minutes after shooting fireworks to ensure all embers have been snuffed. He said he only received six calls last year about fires and hopes that good luck continues.
As for those who would rather watch a professional show, Stuart said this year's display will not disappoint.
"There's always a surprise," she said. "You'll know it when you see it."
The show at Ram Stadium is one of many in the area that Palo Pinto County residents can attend to celebrate America this Fourth of July.
Here is the full list of this year's area fireworks displays and festivities:
• Mineral Wells Independence Day celebration.
Where: Ram Stadium, 3801 Ram Blvd.
When: Fair begins at 5 p.m., stadium gates open at 8 p.m.
Extras: Live music beginning at 7:30 p.m., pet adoptions, bounce house, face painting, dunking booth and more.
• Graford's Fourth of July in the Park.
Where: Graford, park on Main Street north of Highway 254.
When: 6 p.m., fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Extras: Live music, hot dogs, cake and ice cream.
• Gordon Fourth of July celebration.
Where: Parade participants convene at the high school football field between 4-4:30 p.m. Spectators will line Main Street. Concert to follow at Gordon Fire Department.
When: Parade at 5 p.m., live music at 7 p.m.
Extras: Public welcome to participate in parade.
• Perrin Fourth of July celebration.
Where: First Baptist Church in Perrin.
Extras: Refreshments to accompany fireworks show.
• 26th Annual Fireworks at Hell's Gate.
Where to view: YMCA Camp Grady Spruce at Possum Kingdom Lake.
When: July 6th, 6:30-10 p.m. (gates close at 8:45 p.m.).
Cost: $5 per person, children 3 and under free.
Sponsor: Possum Kingdom Chamber of Commerce.
Extras: "Wildlife on the Move" show by Eric Bittingham and swimming in Possum Kingdom Lake. Premium and private seating can be purchased at (940)-779-2424.
Follow Clint on Twitter @Clint_Foster55