By JB Clark
TUPELO – The night sky of Tupelo was electrified, red, white and blue – and green and yellow at times – in celebration of the Fourth of July.
Thousands of residents and visitors descended on Tupelo’s Fairpark and the surrounding areas Friday to enjoy an evening of music and food topped off with a 20-minute, $15,000 fireworks show.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton said he was pleased with the turnout.
“I think it’s looking to be about the same as last year – we expect several thousand here tonight for the fireworks,” he said. “The weather is absolutely beautiful. On a day like this we can only thank God for the weather, the U.S. military for our freedom and the city of Tupelo for putting on an event like this.”
Shelton said they don’t have a precise attendance number since the event isn’t ticketed or gated but a large turnout was made obvious by people setting up lawn chairs in the lawns, medians and parking lots surrounding Fairpark.
Shenelle Roberts, who was decked out in American flag pants, made a day of her trip from Amory with friends and family. They arrived around 3 p.m. and ate in the park while music sounded and their children played.
Trennedy Taylor, Roberts’ daughter, said she wasn’t too sure about the fireworks but knew the best part was the food. “We had a lot of fun, especially eating ribs.”
Noelle McGraw of Tupelo said she attends the event every year with friends and said the fireworks and food are fun but are by no means the best.
“That’s the best part,” she said pointing to the Chris Weaver Band setting up on the stage. “Every year, the music is the best part.”
Hailey Sager, 7, of Gulfport, was visiting family in Tupelo for the weekend. During the final symphony song she said to “get on with the fireworks already.”
She also said she was excited about seeing the big show and she “likes the fireworks. I like the boom they make, but what I like most is they are pretty when they get up in the sky.”
For fireworks, cars were parked along Main Street all the way west to Green Street, north to Commerce Street, south to Magazine Street and east to Highway 45 where many lined the exit ramps. All through downtown cars were stopped in the middle of the road for the show for the 28th iteration of the All-America City Family Picnic, the second held at Fairpark. The event previously was held at Ballard Park.
The picnic in the park began with afternoon musical entertainment from Strangers, Kayla Salon and Feedback. Just before 6 p.m. the Holy Ghost Electric Show and Bonfire Orchestra played. They were followed by the Chris Weaver Band, Irma Collins and the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.