The community came together with music, munchies, and diamonds in the sky this past week.
A World-Class (formerly Division 1) competitive junior drum and bugle corps came to Highland Park on Wednesday June 29 to practice for an upcoming competition in Allentown, Pa. The band, with approximately 150 members, landed on the HP Regional Schools fields and entertained hundreds of residents in the community.
“They loved us and we loved them,” said Superintendent of Schools Scott Taylor. “They loved the fact that the community was eager to hear their music and that Highland Park’s downtown was within walking distance of their practice site. This year it all happened very fast – I was contacted only a week before they were to arrive. But since they were so happy with the site, they might come back next year – and we will have time to attract even bigger crowds,” he said
And then, of course, there was the music emanating from Donaldson Park on Sunday, July 3. The event was the HP Fireworks 2016 party – a spectacular community celebration – spectacular not just because of the fireworks in the sky, but also because of the interactions on the ground. Every person with whom the Planet reporters interacted referred to the community mingling as being the highlight of the evening.
The bands and food “were better than ever,” said one happy diner. The weather also cooperated – refreshingly cool, breezy and un-buggy. Trash was picked up on a regular basis, public safety officers kept a vigilant eye on the crowd and managed the difficult pedestrian/vehicle situation, and fire and first aid volunteers were standing by in case they were needed. Since there was no master of ceremonies to say ‘thank you’ to the individuals who made this event possible, HP Planet offers its exuberant thanks
Roving Reporter-in-Training Lily Solomon asked the following question of a half-dozen attendees:
What do you like most about the Highland Park Fireworks Celebration:
Pam (who came all the way from Princeton, NJ, which this year had no community fireworks celebration)
I like seeing everyone look so happy – eating and playing and running around , seeing all their friends and dancing to the great music. All this is better than the fireworks themselves, in my opinion.
Rebecca (Highland Park) – I like the fireworks because they are colorful and exciting and they make people smile.
Randy (Highland Park) – I like hanging out with my kids and wife. I like the food vendors and music and seeing all of my friends. And this year I particularly liked how Highland Park “Gives a Hoot” campaign was generating a lot of support (a reference to the “Gives a Hoot” fundraising effort that was taking place in the park prior to the fireworks. It is an initiative to raise money to continue the school lunch program in the summertime and summer camp scholarships.)
Harry (Highland Park) – I like how there are all my friends here plus all the cool toys – like the bubble guns and (collapsible) ball. Plus the great ice cream and Italian ices. I just like being here.
Andrea (Highland Park)- I just like hanging out with my friends and neighbors.
Lily (the reporter) – The fireworks are fun because you get to watch really colorful fireworks plus you get to hang out with friends and family and meet new friends.