North Texas Daily

Fireworks wow Denton crowds

Fireworks wow Denton crowds

July 05
16:46 2012

Emily Hopkins / Intern

The crowd counts down from 10 as the stadium lights shut down one by one, reducing visibility to no more than a couple feet. A loud bang rips through the silence after “10,” and an enormous circle of light fills the night sky as the first firework is set off at Fouts Field for the Kiwanis Club Independence Day fireworks show.

“You can kind of sit back and just think about what the Fourth of July actually means,” said Denton resident Jerry Owens, who hasn’t missed the show in nine years. “With the songs playing and with the fireworks going off you just think about America and how fortunate we are to be able to do this.”

The show, organized by the Denton Kiwanis Club, celebrated its 40th anniversary of providing July 4th entertainment to Denton residents on Wednesday night. The event, free to the public, attracts 10,000-12,000 people inside the stadium, organizers said.

Early arrivers – gates open at 5:30 p.m. – picnic, relax or play games before the show starts. The field is littered with families and friends kicking back on blankets or playing catch. The west side stands are open and people grab sodas, popcorn soft pretzels, or Beth Marie’s ice cream as they relax and wait for the main event.

Live music and moonwalks kept all ages of the crowd entertained before nightfall.

“We deploy about half of the fireworks inside the stadium and it’s choreographed to music, so if you’re here (in the stadium) you’re really treated to a full show,” said Hank Dickenson, 11-year chair of the Kiwanis Club Independence Day fireworks committee.

Owens arrived early with a group of 10 adults and eight kids. He said the event gets larger each year. Owens and his family staked their claim on a spot on the field just to the west of the south goal post, as close to the fireworks as possible.

“The kids just wonder around. It’s a safe place to bring little ones and you don’t have to worry about them,” Owens said.

Jeff Fisher, a 1994 UNT alumnus, was with children, family and friends at the show. He and his family have attended the event for three years to enjoy the fireworks and activities. He said they enjoyed the activity, the show and the family-friendly environment.

Outside the stadium, thousands more gathered, from Eagle Point to the duck pond, to watch the fireworks.

At 9:30 pm the show starts. Multi-colored fireworks of red, blue, green, white and purple fill the sky as popular rock music is played within the stadium. Over the course of 22 minutes 13,000 fireworks are deployed by two licensed fireworks shooters, one inside and one on the east side of the stadium. The pyro for the show costs $20,000, which is annually donated by the city of Denton to the Kiwanis Club to make the spectacular display possible.

“The big ones take your heart away and hit you in the chest,” Owens said of the fireworks.

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