Town of Highlands celebrates Independence Day

The community celebration on July 4 in the Town of Highlands began with games on the ball field, followed by an intense Duck Derby, then live music in the park, and capped off with an impressive-fireworks show.

After the sun went down the sky lit up with fireworks shot off from the Dog Lot in Highlands.

A large portion of the community watched the fireworks from Founders Park, but there were plenty of places in Town to view it from; people lined Main Street, watched from their porches or rooftops, or hiked up to Sunset Rock. The fireworks display has been sponsored by the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center for several years and Chamber Board Chair Hilary Wilkes said it was a great day.

“I think it was absolutely excellent,” said Wilkes. “The whole night couldn’t have been more perfect. The band [Elonza Wesley] was great and then we had a special performance by the cast of Buddy Holly before the fireworks.”

Several families watched the fireworks show from Sunset Rock on July 4.

Wilkes added that having a fireworks display is not only wonderful, but is an overall benefit to the Town.

“The Chamber is proud and happy to sponsor it,” she said. “We feel it brings a lot of folks to Town not only for the day, but for the weekend. And we couldn’t have done it without the police [Highlands Police Department] who mitigated traffic so quickly and town crews who had the park clean by morning.”

It was a perfect night to view the fireworks on July 4 in Highlands.

Scaly resident Brittany Burton watched the fireworks from the rear of Calders Coffee Café on Main Street.

“It was awesome,” said Burton. “I’ve lived here my whole life and it’s the first time I’ve seen them in Town.”

The fireworks were shot off from the Dog Lot adjacent to the Rec Park, which is Town property. Recreation Director Lester Norris said he apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the show’s set up.

“We appreciate the positive feedback I have heard from everyone so far and appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding for the park being closed for set up and preparation for the show,” said Norris. “I know it is inconvenient especially for trash drop off and use of the dog park, but it is necessary for the safety of everyone involved and to allow the pyrotechnics crew to do their jobs.”

Highlands fireworks show sponsored by the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

Highlands kicked off the Fourth off with games on the ball field. Members of Highlands Boy Scout Troop 207 were helping build soda-bottle rockets launched with water and air pressure. Other activities included sack races, a frozen-shirt contest, fill the bucket game, getting sprayed with the hose from a Highlands Fire & Rescue truck, and of course, a visit from MAMA (Mountain Area Medical Airlift).

This got real during the sack race on the Town ball field in Highlands on July 4.

Keep a bucket that’s full of holes from emptying during one of the many games on the ball field in Highlands.

Mountain Area Medical Airlift stopped by highlands on July 4 landing at the ball field.

Then it was off to Mill Creek at Creekside Village for the Rotary Club of Highlands’ Duck Derby. Crowds gathered on the banks of the creek cheering on their hopeful duck to cross the finish line first.

Members of the Rotary Club of Highlands were spending their Fourth at the ball field selling hot dogs and Duck Derby tickets to raise money for Club charities.

Spectators lined the banks of Mill Creek cheering on their duck hoping for the win.

Rotary members and community partners sold over 1,200 Duck Derby tickets to raise over $10,000 for Club charities. Cash prizes totaling $875 were awarded to the owners of the first five ducks to cross the finish line

As evening hit, people gathered at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park to get psyched for the fireworks show with a performance by Elonza Wesley sponsored by the highlands Hiker. That was followed up with a performance by the cast of Buddy Holly.

Elonza Wesley performed at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park on July 4.

The cast of Buddy Holly also performed before the fireworks show in Highlands.

See last year’s July 4 in Highlands article on Plateau Daily News HERE.

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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