WILKES-BARRE — Attending the the annual Independence Day celebration at Kirby Park has become tradition for the Sedon family, of Pittston.
The family, decked in red white and blue and eating chocolate chip mint ice cream, thought this year’s event was especially enjoyable.
“It’s perfect weather, perfect family time and good things to eat,” said dad, Stephan Sedor.
Sons Stephan A., 4, and A.J., 3, took turns stealing ice cream from mother Mary Jo’s bowl.
“Their favorite part was probably free balloons,” Stephan said.
The family looked forward to viewing the event’s fireworks from the River Common on the other side of the river.
For those who love color and counting, Restored Church held a “guess the amount of sprinkles” contest to win an iPad.
Attendees carefully studied a large container filled with the sweet treat.
“The guesses have been diverse,” said Restored Church member Bethany Kenny. “From a few thousand to a hundred million.”
Joann and Bob Hardisky, of Plymouth, enjoyed sitting in the shade after a motorcycle ride.
“I was just saying how nice the landscaping is,” Bob said. “The park looks beautiful.”
Seventeen-month-old Alexis Paxton enjoyed the event from her stroller looking every bit the patriot in red, white and blue attire.
Grandparents Donald and Theresa Wychock, of Plains Township, planned to take Alexis home for a nap and bring her back for the fireworks.
Holding the sleepy toddler in her arms, Theresa said, “I think she just wore herself out.”
Ruth Casey, owner of Just Plain Crazy Body Art, was busy applying creative designs to the arms and faces of attendees.
“We’ve done a variety of designs today,” she said. “But everyone wanted everything done in red, white and blue.”
For the young and the young-at-heart, amusement rides took attendees swirling through the air to a background of pop music.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic provided listeners with a variety of patriotic songs, traditional anthems and sing-alongs.
The Philharmonic was conducted by Melisse Brunet, who also serves as the director of the Campus Symphony Orchestra at the University of Michigan.
Children 12 and under were given free bicycle helmets at the event, an effort sponsored annually by Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn Foundation for Children’s Advocacy.
Sue Greenfield, business manager, said the law firm simply wants to give back to the community, ensuring the safety of its children as they ride their bikes.
“It’s sometimes so expensive for parents to provide helmets,” Greenfield said. “We’re happy to do this.”
Officials estimated well over 1,000 attendees enjoyed the rides, vendors and games. But to many, the day was not truly complete until the fireworks display lit up the night sky at dusk, with musical accompaniment from the Philharmonic.
Reach Geri Gibbons at 570-991-6117 or on Twitter @TLGGibbons.