The sun shone and the clouds went away as Inland Northwest residents flocked to local Fourth of July celebrations in Coeur d’Alene, Liberty Lake and Spokane on Wednesday.
By midafternoon, Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane was filling up with people listening to music, riding rides and staking out prime spots for the evening’s fireworks. Children clutched balloon animals or ran in the Rotary fountain to cool off. A lone protester stood silently by the Looff Carrousel holding a sign that said “Military spending is killing us.”
Eastern Washington University student Catrina Richards and her husband Michael brought their five children, ranging in age from 2 to 13, to their first Fourth of July celebration in Spokane. They bought day passes for the rides and visited River Park Square before taking a break so the kids could run in the fountain and cool off. “They’re really eager to get back to the rides, but I wanted to stop at the water,” Richards said.
Richards said her family packed a lunch but would buy dinner from some of the many vendors in the park before they watched the fireworks. “We’re here for the full shebang,” Richards said.
Ona and Fred Ginter stopped by the park as they passed through town on their way from Glacier National Park to Yosemite National Park. They heard about the Fourth of July celebration when they stopped by the Visitor’s Center to see if there was anything to do in town. Ona Ginter said she loved seeing the river running through the park. “It’s wonderful,” she said. “We want to see the falls.”
Ellie Odell and Bernie Nelson both sported cameras slung around their necks as they wandered the park taking pictures. They paused to listen to a group of bagpipers playing across the river from the Carrousel. “We’re having fun,” Odell said. “We saw baby ducks over there. We love the bagpipers.”
Nelson said he enjoys taking pictures of people.
“I find if you’re careful and don’t overstep your lens, people will allow a certain amount of interaction,” he said. He planned to stay long enough to take pictures of the fireworks, too.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss it.”