By: Jason A Williams
“And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro’ the night,” that our earplugs were near, at least for those that would be heading to bed instead of heading out to watch the annual Fourth of July fireworks displays throughout the city late last night.
“Not much can keep me away from my bed at 9 o’clock,” said Carri Skinner who was just arriving home to her apartment in the Sheldon neighborhood after attending a Fourth of July BBQ with her husband at a friend’s house nearby. “I have to be at work early in the morning and that means sleep is more important than bright objects in the sky.”
I however, would not be making the same decision the Skinner’s made. With me were the thousands gathered around Alton Baker Park for multiple fireworks displays put on by the Eugene Active 20/30 Club as part of their Freedom Festival and the Eugene Emeralds baseball team at PK Park.
With the footbridges over the Willamette and just about every green-space not fenced off for the festival becoming grandstands for those not willing to pay the price of admission(six bucks is a lot of money!), it seemed that this would be the place to watch the biggest fireworks shows in Eugene.
Soon you could hear the explosions begin, realizing they were at PK park I was a little disappointed to find that trees blocked my view of what seemed like an epic show. All was not lost though, my viewing angle for the other show, being shot off over the Willamette River, was perfect; which ensured that spectacular would be my only treat. So I waited patiently for the second show to begin, being billed as the largest and longest-running show in Eugene I was sure to see something just as epic if not better than the fireworks I was missing at the baseball stadium.
With a clear view from my spot on the Autzen footbridge, the Freedom Festival show started. After the first few explosions however it became quickly clear that this was not the epic battle that I had hoped for all day. After hearing mass explosions in the shrouded distance at PK park all I got was what was a clear sign that I was just missing out on sleep.
As the last display launched into the air one could not help but overhear disappointment in the voice of one of the many youngsters in attendance that seemed to sum up our experience, “If that was the finale, then that was lame!”
In which I simply turned and could only nod in agreement. Next year I’ll be sure to avoid the fireworks at Alton Baker and catch the show that was behind the trees at PK park. Epic battles and explosions after all are the only true way to celebrate our Independence Day and since I’m not in the military or in a war zone the fireworks are as close as I’ll get.
The other option, buy some earplugs and take the route of the Skinners.