We went into the Fourth with no concrete plans. We finished the day having done almost every activity one would want on this truly American holiday.
We began the day by grabbing some drive-thru breakfast and dashing into Staunton for the parade. We attended with Grammy, Poppy, and Gramma B (Blanche, Poppy's mother). While a great deal of the parade was as interesting as....well....watching grass grow, the National Guard brought everyone out of their folding chairs. There were plenty of fire trucks, kids doing karate, vintage cars, and even both candidates for our Congressional seat. To sum up, it was an okay parade, but I'd like to see them work on the long gaps that gave folks the impression it was over.
One of Staunton's jewels is the Gypsy Express, a mini-train that runs in the park from April until October. Andrew is a huge fan and was talking about riding the train long before the end of the parade. The bonus was the rides were free on the holiday. Here are Tam and Andrew as we begin to roll out of Bartley Station. If you haven't done this (with or without kids), it is old-fashioned fun and we highly recommend it.
After the train ride, we walked over to the amusements. Loading him up into the rides only confirms what we realize more and more everyday - our baby really is growing up.
We grabbed some lunch from some of the vendors (including a killer funnel cake from the K of C) and sat with Grammy, Poppy, and Gramma B listening to people trying to sing in the talent showcase. We decided to head home just as a light rain began to fall. FIGURES! We swung into a roadside fireworks stand with a goal of spending less than $10. Mission accomplished and back to Fort Vegas.
Tam and Andrew had naps while I Googled nonsense and pulled the pics off the camera. After dinner, we repaired to the "Redneck Riviera" for some fun in the sandbox. Can I once again thank all who contributed to this project? Can I get an Amen?
So we are in the sandbox throwing the beach ball around and discussing where the night is going to head next......what should we do? The night seemed to be calling out for something, but what?
ICE CREAM! We loaded up and headed into Verona to DQ. Andrew is all about ice cream cones ever since seeing an Upside Down Show where the boys spend the episode looking for an ice cream truck. He worked on this cone like a champ, but ended up needing a little relief from Mommy before the whole thing turned into a chocolate puddle on the table.
The next thing on the agenda was heading home and launching our $7.50 worth of fireworks. Having just been in Myrtle Beach (where you can buy anything short of a surface to air missile), you would have thought I would have picked up some decent fireworks, but I have to show Andrew I am a law-abiding citizen. Seven minutes later, our little show was over and we were just about to head into the house when Tam asked the magic question: "Feel like seeing the big fireworks show?" Andrew seemed up for it, so..............................
We load up the Kia and head back into Staunton for the big show. As we drove past the park and saw the crowd, we were happy there was such a great turnout (reported as better than last year by local tv). Since we grew up during the heyday of the Statler Brothers massive event (when 100,000 people would pack into the park), it is nice to see that this smaller version is well attended. I know the local charities struggled after losing their cash cow, but it seems everyone is now having a great Fourth in the post-Statler era. The kids in the park tonight will never have German tourists asking them where the bathrooms are and won't see Moxie Stadium as a sea of folding chairs.
With a very tired Andrew in the backseat, we headed home having had a very full Fourth. Hope yours was as good as ours! ---J