For Connecticut native Ashleigh Fairclough, being at Freedom Hall Saturday for the 26th Annual Pepsi Independence Day Celebration presented by Hometown IGA was the perfect place to be in order to ring in another Fourth of July weekend.
While the celebration’s games, vendors and music were certainly fun for Fairclough and her friend Luci Feudi, they just served as an appetizer for the night’s main event — the massive fireworks display courtesy of the LaFollette-based pyrotechnics company Pyro Shows.
“I’m excited. Everything’s bigger down south,” Fairclough said. “I’ve heard so much about just the fireworks and I’m excited to see it. I heard it was supposed to be really big and just take your breath away.”
After Fairclough moved to Jonesborough from Connecticut last month, Feudi, who has lived in the area for six years, really sold the Fourth of July event to her friend.
The fireworks extravanganza — which is Pyro Shows’ second largest holiday event in the state, bested only by an event in Nashville — was the main selling point.
“I like it because there’s so many games to do, even if I’m grown up. I still like to have fun on the little kiddie train and then the fireworks is just amazing,” Feudi said. “Every year, I’m just amazed. It’s just something new every year, and I’m just like, ‘Wow! I’m coming next year!’ ”
Feudi said she’s been to some of the region’s other fireworks displays, including an event in Kingsport, however, none of them compare to the brilliant display that lights up the night sky over Freedom Hall.
When it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July, Feudi said it’s by far her favorite holiday.
“I love Fourth of July more than Halloween, which I always dress up for, but I just like it because my brother buys at least $200 worth of fireworks, so we do that on the Fourth of July and this on the second,” she said. “It’s just my favorite, and it’s so fun, cause you have cookouts and then family comes over and we celebrate, plus it’s for America’s independence.”
Both Fairclough and Feudi arrived at Freedom Hall early Saturday afternoon, hours ahead of the rest of their family and friends who were joining them later in the evening. The two just couldn’t wait to get a head start on the celebration, especially as Fairclough counted down the hours until her first Fourth of July in East Tennessee.
“I can’t wait till it gets darker and the fireworks start. Everything’s prettier at night, cause everything just lights up. But it’s so much bigger than anything ever was in Connecticut, so it’s huge,” she said.