Rotary Park Fills For Holiday Festivities

Rallied in celebration of Independence Day, hundreds gathered along the shoreline of Bridgewater Channel, packing into Rotary Park in hopes of staking their spot for the evening’s upcoming festivities. Toting ice chests, blankets and barbecue equipment, families lined the beach area as children ran through playgrounds while early morning walkers took advantage of the holiday spectacle.

Branden Smith grills at Rotary Beach Saturday morning.

Branden Smith grills at Rotary Beach Saturday morning.

Sitting comfortably around their ground-cover quilt and picnic basket, Vance Davidson and wife Janis from Riverside, Calif., watched from their tree-shaded area as their two children frolicked with water noodles along the shore. When asked what prompted the family’s decision to celebrate the holiday such a distance from home, Davidson commented on the cleanliness and security of the town, noting that, “Havasu is one of the only places I can bring my kids to enjoy the Fourth without having to worry about their safety the way we do in Riverside.”

Daughter Madalynn, age 8 and son Brandon, age 12, helped validate their father’s statement when asked to describe their favorite part of celebrating the Fourth in Lake Havasu.
Madalynn responding that, “Here in Arizona, our dad will let us outside to watch the fireworks at night without being scared about the stuff that falls from the sky.”

Vance Davidson went on to elaborate that in years prior while celebrating the Fourth in Riverside, stray bullets entered the walls of the family home not once, but twice within two years. “That’s definitely something we don’t worry about here in Havasu the way we do in Riverside,” he said.

Just yards away in lawn chairs along Rotary beach, longtime river area residents Don and Mary Slater sat together in the packed Rotary Park, staking their claim to a shaded spot just beneath a tree. When asked about the couple’ evening plans, a Mary Slater said her plan was “to sit right where I am and wait” in anticipation of the fireworks show this evening across from Thompson Bay.

The Slaters said this would be their third year viewing the display from the same spot as the years before. “It’s kind of become our thing,” commented Mary, stating, “We like to get here early enough to make sure that we get our spot,” emphasizing their attachment to the particular shaded patch.

Halie Carson plays at the sand at Rotary Beach Saturday morning. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Halie Carson plays at the sand at Rotary Beach Saturday morning. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Their children and grandchildren celebrate the holiday in their home state of Nevada, Don Slater stated his contentment in the couple’s evening plans, commenting that, “The grand kids can sure be fun this time of year, but I certainly don’t miss the sticky fingerprints!” As the temperature started to rise, Don Slater commented that the weather would stand as their only obstacle. Pointing downward at the fully loaded cooler at the couple’s feet, the obstacle seemed as small one, with apparently little standing in the way of this couple’s enjoyment of the holiday in “their spot.”

Further down the shoreline, standing alone, a 27-year-old veteran by the name of Daniel stood just off of the walking trail, seemingly enjoying the lake view. When asked how he planned on enjoying his Fourth of July holiday, Daniel responded, “Remembering all of the servicemen who fought alongside of me.

“There are a few of my friends out there who didn’t make it back.” Apparently subdued by the gravity and purpose of the holiday, Daniel continued, stating that his evening would be spent in memory of those who had fought and fallen.

“During my last tour, I saw and lost a lot. Tonight I plan to just sit and try to honor all of the servicemen and women who have fought and died for our country to be safe and free.”

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In honor and celebration of America and the brave individuals who have fought for the right to remain free, a safe and happy holiday is wished to all on this 239th Independence Day.

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