This last Friday (the 4th of July) we had my wife's sister's family staying with us. It was a great time, and we troubled them to go to our local parade. The parade itself doesn't really well-compare to what I grew up with (big military vehicles rolling down the street, beauty queens throwing gobs of candy ...), but it was still nice to go and watch everything go by.
I was surprised at the fact that there were no bands marching in the parade, and the liveliest group that went by was from a local church who were blasting music and goofing off in the street. (Knowing what little I do about them, I'm guessing they had nearly their entire congregation walking down the street!) For our local parade, towards the end it really turns into the "local businesses getting free advertising" parade, so we eventually left when that became utterly apparent. With the temperatures soaring and the sun beating down, we were ready to go anyway.
The rest of the day we just hung out together as a family, having a barbecue and socializing. With our three kids and their four boys, the house was quite loud, but it was sure great to have them. We don't have family stay with us very often since they all live at least two states away, and it's always a pleasure when they do.
That night, we went over to the local mall to watch the fireworks. It was nothing short of awesome! We went to the "center court" outside the mall and took our lawn chairs. With the fireworks launched just a few buildings away, we were up close and personal. The force of the blasts from the fireworks literally shook our bodies. The sound from the fireworks echoed off the walls of the mall behind us so that we would first see the fireworks, a fraction of a second later hear/feel the blast, then a fraction of a second later we'd hear the echoing reply. It was loud enough to keep even the MP3-playing-hearing-impaired nephews content. The display was spectacular and there were some I'd never seen before.
It was a great day!