For some reason unknown to me, John and I have avoided 4th of July celebrations for a number of years now. When our children were young we always took them to oh and ah over those dazzling spectacles that lit up the Fourth's night skies. Of course there was always a crowd and then afterwards the hassle of waiting in traffic that moved at a snail's pace but that really isn't reason enough to become paranoid about attending this once a year celebration. Perhaps it was that our children were now grown and had their own celebrations to attend and their own children to impress. Whatever the reason we had missed many years of seeing the birthday celebration of our nation up close and personal. This year we decided to be different and we made reservations at a riverside restaurant called Mattison's Riverside. Mattison's has always been a favorite dinning place for John and I, the food is beautifully prepared and most enjoyable, the service is good, the atmosphere relaxing and the riverside views are amazing.
Mattison's promotes a special 4th of July dinner buffet with live music and afterwards there was reserved seating outside to view the fireworks display that are launched from the end of the Palmetto Fishing Pier, which is practically in Mattison's backyard.
I have witnessed a lot of firework displays in my lifetime, some small, some large but in truthfulness I have never witnessed a display such as the one John and I watched from Mattison's Riverside. I've never seen fireworks so huge and so close and so many launched at the same time. If you can imagine 12 o'clock being directly above your head, we were watching these canisters launching to the 1 or 2 o'clock position where they would explode into gigantic chrysanthemums of sparkling splendor. Some of the truly large burst seemed so close we felt they would engulf us and for a full half-hour I felt the awe and amazement of a child.
Before the firework display began, a couple seated next to us said that they had been coming to Mattison's for several years to view this display and in the their opinion it was the best fireworks presentation, bar none. They were a well traveled couple and had seen fireworks in many locations from Europe to Asia to both the east and west coasts of the USA. After the 3 Part Grand Finale I had to admit...I was impressed...very impressed, after all it isn't everyday that one feels as though they might be devoured by an immense shower of sizzling embers that look as big or bigger than a football field. And it was 30 full minutes of one or many magnificent bursts after another ... the Grand Finale sounded like the biggest popcorn popper in the universe going crazy.
This indescribable fireworks presentation was put on by our little city of Palmetto, a lovely and quaint city nestled on the north side of the river. Palmetto's Fourth Celebration was an event one had to see and be a part of to appreciate it fully. They had cordoned off two or three blocks of the Downtown Riverside area for pedestrian traffic only. This area was strictly for foot traffic and was filled with vendors selling kettle corn, hot dogs, Italian sausage, cold drinks and sweet eats. Though the temps had been lowered significantly by a cloudy sky and early morning showers the atmosphere was hot with live music and fun entertainment. Bands included Soul Purpose, Big Daddy, KoKo Ray, Tony Tyler and The Shaman Band.
Oh yes, this Fourth has been a National Birthday Bash that I will long remember.
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