The heat didn’t keep the crowds away as they began filling the pavilion shortly after 4 p.m. to enjoy the numerous folklorico dancers of all ages.
Mariachis roamed the pavilion singing classic and contemporary music with Refugio’s No Vacancy playing loud and long, leading the way for the night’s true attraction.
The crowd flowed out of the pavilion and descended upon the large grass area, facing the army of firefighters waiting for the sun to set to light the fuses.
Gabriel Aleman of Angel Care Ambulance Service, one of this year’s sponsors, missed the show he helped create last year, but made sure he was in attendance for this one.
“I liked watching the people enjoy the show,” Aleman said. “It was just a really great surrounding.”
And as the sun dipped below the horizon and the light faded, a small burst of sparks filled the sky marking the beginning of the show.
When asked about how many fireworks actually went off during the over 30-minute show, Aleman laughed, “I don’t know. A lot, that’s all I have to say.”
Children ran around the grassy knoll and stopped every time a huge burst exploded overhead.
Rebecca Garcia, one of the many spectators that night, said, “I thought it was neat to sit in the grass and watch the fireworks with my kids. They were excited.
“I don’t live out in the country, so it was neat to get to actually enjoy some fireworks.”
Crowds also filled the expo parking lot, sitting in the beds of truck or popping open tailgates. Cars lined Highway 351 in front of the Expo Center for about a quarter mile in each direction just to watch the spectacle.
Priscilla Elizalde sat parked on the side of Highway 351 and said, “It was super awesome. There was a great turnout and my daughter really loved all the colors.”
Aleman added, “I would like to thank everyone in the community.
“As long as the community helps out and shows support we can do this again and keep making it a success.”
Once the last rocket’s red glare filled the sky and the crowd shuffled off through the pavilion toward their automobiles, another light spectacle awaited them.
Thousands of vehicles’ taillights filled the night as everyone attempted to leave at the same time.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.