Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 25, 2013

Family friendly skies set for EC

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — America’s 237th birthday will mean more than enough cause for celebration as citizens take time to remember historical milestones aplenty and kicking off Garvin County’s first major event for Independence Day will be Elmore City.

Making its 13th appearance thanks to Elmore City’s First Baptist Church, the God and Country Celebration will be welcoming families back once again to take part in festivities as it returns to the city’s lake this Sunday, June 30.

Mixing in a little civic pride in with patriotism for another round is longtime resident Skeet Luster, who is thrilled to be a part of the event that kicks off at 6:30 p.m., both because of how welcoming it has been for her since she moved back in the 1990s and its familiar family friendly approach.

“It’s one of our missions for our church to do this in the community,” said Luster, who can’t seem to stop helping organize the shindig since it reminds her of her own childhood growing up in a similarly sized community called Sentinel.

“I guess it’s just like the old fashioned Fourth of July… It’s a very pleasant experience for everybody.”

Outgrowing attendance in pretty much every year it has been held, the event is bringing back live music by local groups, free hot dogs with all the trimmings and one of the most impressive fireworks shows around, said Luster.

Last year alone there were about 5,000 visitors with no less expected this weekend and a good portion of those come from considerably larger towns and even out of state.

“We have people come in from Oklahoma City, Dallas,” said Luster. “It takes a lot of people to do it.”

While one of the most popular portions won’t be back in the 145th Army Band performance, the lights in the sky at the end of the night, or as the locals call “dark thirty,” is promised to feature a special surprise for those who hang around until the end, said Luster.

There will also be the addition of snow cones for the first 1,500 people who stop by, and kids will have something to keep them entertained from volleyball as well as face painting and the moon bounce to riding their bikes or trikes.

“Come the fireworks time it’s just waves of people enjoying the show,” said Luster, noting how because there is no lifeguard there will again be no swimming even though lake levels are back up.

“That’s where my heart is and I’m glad I can do it.”

Visitors are encouraged to show up earlier for prime places to bring their own outdoor chairs or blankets and also wear bug spray. For more information contact the church office at 580-788-4110.