So, I finally have something to Blog about :). One thing we had realized when we left Knox is that we hadn't taken full advantage of the area and made an effort to actually see what was in the surrounding area, in part because we were so close to home that we stayed with what was familiar. We determined that we would not do that again. So, we decided that we would brave the unfamiliar crowds and go to the 4th of July celebration at Yorktown. I've been reading an awesome book on the Revolutionary war and am currently obsessed with the founding of our country. So it seemed perfect to celebrate our nations independence at the same place where it was finally secured.
First we decided to use the light infantry approach to this event. One backpack with some necessities vs. my idea of Heavy armor, the big yellow wagon to carry supplies for a full day's march. We arrived by 3, since we'd been warned that the crowds were bad and we'd have a hard time finding parking. We parked in row H, parking was not an issue. We hiked into town in time to see the Fife and Drum corp perform next to the yorktown monument. They were amazing, all aged 10-18. Then we walked down to the free kids events, some lines, but for seasoned Thunder attendees, it was like having the place to ourselves.
The kids inflatables were set up accross from the Thomas Nelson house. Thomas Nelson was a signer of the declaration, and gave his fortune to the revolutionary effort. It was amazing to hear the Declaration of Independence read from the steps of his home. Then a bell was rung 1x for each colony as their signers names were read. Yes, I got teary as we recited the Pledge and the Fife and Drum corp played the National Anthem.
From there we found a great seat on the curb to watch the parade, a true small town affair complete with scout troops, shriners, and representatives of the armed forces. Having enjoyed the organized aspects of the day we headed to the river. For those familiar with the area, they know that the "beach" isn't very large at all. But, we had NO problem at 7:00 finding plenty of space for us to set up camp and let the kids play in the water for a bit before the fireworks.
Again, as seasoned Thunder attendees, we weren't sure what to expect from the fireworks. But, Yorktown did our Founders proud. From our location on the water, it seemed like the fireworks were right over our head, they were huge and well planned. We quite enjoyed ourselves.
Then, we prepared for the hike back to the car and the LONG wait we'd been warned of. Nope, we were in the car by 10 and home at 11. Tremendously well organized and enjoyable day. So, we are now taking reservations if anyone wants to come and go with us next year.