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July 29, 2014

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Henderson fireworks bring change of scenery for thousands

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Mona Shield Payne/Special to the Sun

Michelle Parker applauds during the playing of patriotic songs during Henderson’s Fourth of July celebration Sunday night at Basic High School.

Henderson Fireworks Display

Michelle Parker applauds during the playing of patriotic songs during Henderson's Fourth of July celebration Sunday night at Basic High School. Launch slideshow »

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Map of Basic High School

Basic High School

400 North Palo Verde Drive, Henderson

With glittering patriotic stars on her cheeks, 11-year-old Sabrina Davis didn't hesitate to announce her favorite part of the Fourth of July: celebrating the nation’s independence.

A close second? "The fireworks," she said.

Davis joined her family and a crowd of about 20,000 others to view 15 minutes of glittering and booming fireworks in the football field at Basic High School, 400 N. Palo Verde Drive, in Henderson.

This was the first year the city's Fourth of July celebration was at Basic High, said Nicole Johnson, communications specialist for Henderson's Culture Arts and Tourism Department. The Henderson Events Plaza previously hosted the event.

"We moved it here to bring a park-like setting back to the Fourth of July," she said, adding that it's also in preparation for the eventual move to Heritage Park when it's completed.

The move suited Sabrina's mom, Lori Davis, who has been attending Henderson's fireworks celebrations for nine years.

"I'm actually really glad Henderson came back to a park setting," Davis said. "You get a huge turnout because people like to come with their blankets."

But North Las Vegas resident Joe Luna was disappointed in this year's celebration.

"It was better last year," Luna said. "More vendors, more stuff."

Henderson's Fourth of July celebration began at 6 p.m. featuring kids' activities, food and music by The Randy Anderson Band, Blonde Sided/Jean Francois and the Henderson Symphony Orchestra. Fireworks began at 9 p.m.

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Fireworks shoot into the evening sky to patriotic melodies played by the Henderson Symphony Saturday during Henderson's Fourth of July celebration Sunday night at Basic High School.

Henderson Police Lt. Eric Denison said about 30 officers were at the high school, patrolling and helping to control traffic.

Brett Stewart and his wife, Marilee, attended the early festivities before retreating to their nearby house to escape the crowds and watch the fireworks.

"I feel like we're really fortunate to live in a country with freedom of speech and religion," Brett Stewart said. "As critical as we get of our government and leadership sometimes, it's still the greatest country in the world, and people still want to come here."

Elsewhere in Henderson at the eighth-annual Fourth of July celebration at Lake Las Vegas, people echoed the same patriotic thoughts. The European-inspired buildings and grounds were decked out in red, white and blue for the event, which was expected to draw 4,000 to 5,000 people.

The festivities included kids' activities, food and music by local band The Stinson Broz before the 9 p.m. fireworks show.

"It's fun for the whole family," said Andrea Day, events manager for The Village Lake Las Vegas. "They can bring their kids, bring their dogs."

Las Vegas resident Maureen Watts returned to the Lake Las Vegas celebration for the second year in a row, with new friends and kids in tow.

"It's beautiful," she said, referring to the hillside overlooking the live music and lake. "What's not to love?"

Despite the blazing sun, families and friends had filled the hillside by 7 p.m. — and it's that camaraderie of the American spirit that brought Lake Las Vegas resident Caroline Louis-Barcelo out to the celebration.

"The Fourth of July is about being with people," she said.

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