This year, starting at 9:30 PM central on July 4, Grapevine, Texas will do it again. A local FM radio station, KLUV 98.7 will be broadcasting patriotic music synchronized to the massive booms and breathtaking colors that will be exploding many hundreds of feet over the surface of our lake.
Living a half mile from Lake Grapevine in the Texas DFW area comes with a wonderful perk every Fourth of July. My family is fortunate enough to have a clear view over the water. We invite friends and family over for the free fireworks show that rivals those of any other metropolis. We sit in the back yard, reclining on patio furniture as each rocket whistles into the dark heavens, screeching like some angry witch that just saw a house dropped on her sister; then we Ooh and Ah as they explode into brilliant flashes of color, seemingly covering the night sky from horizon to horizon.
Each one is more brilliant than the last, and every time you think, “they can’t top that”, some pyrotechnical engineer launches another even more spectacular device into the sky. It destroys itself in a blaze of glory. Your breath is stolen away and a tear wells up as the songs that were born in our fight for freedom play in perfect synchronization with shells flying upward like the bats of hell and exploding in images that seem to reflect the fiery guardian angels of paradise.
Fireworks shows that run in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars are twice as spectacular when they are held at a lake. The colors bloom in the sky and reflect on the water, completely surrounding the spectators with the experience. You are immersed in color and sound, especially if you have a good stereo blasting out “God Bless America” or the “National Anthem”. Or, has anyone ever dared playing the rock group Boston’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner”? That would put it completely, utterly over the top. Trans-Siberian Orchestra, meet the 4th of July.
A lot of spectators drive out to the lake in the early afternoon or even morning to get a parking spot near one of the docks. I spoke to a Corp of Engineers worker today who told me folks had better start scouting their viewing spots today. There’s a good possibility the lots at the boat ramps will be off limits since the recent record-breaking rains have caused a lot of new shore line to be created and all the docks are so far under water the entrances are closed.
Here’s another tip, bring plenty of snacks and healthy drinks and make sure you have plenty of fuel in your vehicle. If you stay for the end of the show there will be a traffic jam for everyone leaving the area that will make you think you’re leaving Texas stadium after the Cowboys won a championship playoff game (I could’ve said Super-bowl, but just trying to keep it real). You definitely don’t want to be the person who ran out of gas on a two lane lake road with ten thousand sunburned people trying to get home behind you. That’s the part of the show I get some bonus entertainment from each year as I sit in my yard drinking kool aid and watch thousands of people trying to get where I am: home.
Your best bet for the most comfortable viewing spot to see this fireworks extravaganza is from a house near the lake which has a clear view of the water. Call around and check with friends, you never know who’s up for a patriotic party, and they’ll be more likely to have you as a guest if you offer to bring the snacks and drinks. Don’t call me, though. My house is already booked up with in-laws and out-laws. I’m having them all check their guns at the door. (Did I mention I’m Texan, born & bred?
Have a happy, safe, and enjoyable July 4th, and God Bless America!