July 4

Scenes from a soggy Family 4th at Gas Works Park



Ah, nothing like a summer’s day in the park. Thousands arrived at Gas Works Park by mid-afternoon for the Family 4th celebration leading up to the night’s fireworks.

On a chilly day, under threatening skies, kids made kites and flew them on Kite Hill.

Photo by Margret Maria Cordts.

When we arrived at Gas Works at around 3:30, a light drizzle had begun to fall.

Clearly some fireworks fans were more prepared than others for the steady drizzle, showers, and other descriptions the moisture that blanketed the park.

This party showed up at 7 a.m. and said they were in fourth in line.

This group tried to rig up a makeshift tent using blankets.

“It’s a blue tarp Fourth of July,” said La’akea, who sat with her friends under umbrellas, plastic bags and a large blue tarp. They arrived before the rain began to fall and grabbed a premium spot at the base of the hill, right in front of the water.

“We’ve been coming for 7 years in a row, and we’re not giving up,” her friend Jean said. “We’re not ready to throw in the towel.” They laughed. “It’s an experience.”

Wallingford businesses were out in the soggy bog. Fuerte Fitness, whose inflatable sumo wrestling was popular, folded up early because its area was turning into a slip ‘n’ slide.

The Wallingford Chamber of Commerce and Not a Number had set up a tater tot toss (using plastic tots) and were selling raffle tickets (including prizes from 4 Your Eyes Only, Joule, Trophy Cupcakes and many others) to benefit the Senior Center.

Speaking of Trophy, their cake walk was a popular (and covered) sweet spot in the park.

By 5:00 there was a bona fide exodus from the park. The folks from One Reel couldn’t say the ratio of people leaving to arriving, but there was no line to get into Gas Works at 5:00, and there had been a short wait 90 minutes earlier.

Many sought shelter from the rain in “The Barn.”

One Reel spokesperson Mikhael Mei Williams told us she was checking numerous weather forecasts and was hopeful that the rain would stop around 8:00 p.m.

While most of the food vendors were empty, the line for coffee stretched for 50 feet…

At the lake’s edge, many of the donors who gave to save the fireworks show were treated to hot dogs, corn, potato salad and cobbler — served by none other than chef Tom Douglas himself. Douglas spearheaded the fundraising effort when Chase Bank decided not to renew its sponsorship.

“We’re out here because it’s the right thing to do,” Douglas said. “We don’t need any banks to pull this off — we can do it ourselves.”

After hours of precipitation, the forecasts proved correct. The rain cleared, the clouds didn’t impede a view of the fireworks, and the show seemed to go off flawlessly.

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