City celebrates Fourth of July at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater

City celebrates Fourth of July at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater

On July 4, Tuscaloosa residents gathered at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater for the Celebration on the Riverwalk. The event consisted of a concert, a performance by the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra and various activities.

Becky Booker, Parks and Recreation Authority's (PARA) public relations and marketing manager, spent her time at the event overseeing the newly upgraded PARA Kids Zone. This year, the Kids Zone had three new water features as well as Zorb balls and new inflatable obstacle courses for children.

"Just walking around checking with all of our staff, we feel like we have a record breaking crowd this year," Booker said. "We've got enough variety of different things that everybody, young and old, can have a good time."

Though Booker spent a majority of her time within the PARA-operated zone, she said she was excited to see the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra play.

"To come in and hear the orchestra for free, that really adds a cultural element to it," Booker said. "A lot of people haven't been in the Amphitheater before, so it's a great chance to come in and see this amazing venue that our city has."

Tuscaloosa resident Jeanette Snow said this year was the first her family had attended the event. In the past, her family has gone out on the lake to view the fireworks.

Recent UA graduate Georgia Bonds attended the event last year.

"We live in a small apartment, so it's nice to come here," Bonds said. "We usually just come out here and enjoy this as our main event for the Fourth of July."

Courtney Cooke, a sophomore majoring in education at Shelton State, also attended last year's event. She said the atmosphere was different this year.

"This year is definitely a lot more crowded, because a lot more people know about it.," Cooke said. "There's more people so it's more exciting this year, and it feels like a bigger event. Last year, it was definitely relaxing. This year, it's just kinda chaotic trying to weave through everybody."

Despite the crowds, Cooke said she was excited to see Casey Thrasher perform.

"I love Casey," Cooke said. "We actually auditioned together for American Idol, and so I was there from the start, and I'm still going strong following him."

After Casey Thrasher performed, the orchestra came up on stage, performing a variety of overtures and scores from various movies. The orchestra covered songs from the William Tell Overture to the Ghostbusters theme, in which the crowd was encouraged to sing along.

During the nearly 30-minute long firework display, the orchestra played John Williams tunes as well as the 1812 Overture.

"There's a lot," Cooke said. "You just meet new people, and it's meeting new friends and people you haven't seen in a while. The whole atmosphere is good for families. It's good for teenagers, adults, everybody can have a good time."

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