Thunder And Lightning Stays Away From Thunder On The Ridge
by James Coulter
Despite thunder booming on the horizon, Haines City managed to light up the night sky with the booming of fireworks during its 21st Annual Thunder on the Ridge on Thursday evening.
The forecast that evening called for rain, yet the thunderstorm managed to stay away from the event long enough for the fireworks display, one of the largest within Polk County, to go off as scheduled.
Prior to the fireworks, hundreds of local residents and visitors flooded the open fields of Lake Eva Community Park for an afternoon of food, festivities, and fun.
When not purchasing something to eat from one of a dozen food trucks, they could listen to live music as performed by artists such as Almost There, C’Nergy Band, Parker Brothers, and Bailey Callahan.
Emily Marshall, visitor information specialist, attended that afternoon with Visit Central Florida to offer information on local attractions such as LEGOLAND Florida and Bok Tower Gardens.
Her organization often attends such events to help promote other attractions and amenities that Polk County has to offer. Such events help draw in many interested tourists into the county, she said.
“For the city itself, this is a beautiful venue to have this kind of event,” she said. “It brings about 10,000 people. So it gives everyone a chance to meet new friends and have the time of their lives.”
While many visitors used the event to celebrate their country’s independence, Grace Community Church set up a booth to help promote their program, Celebrate Recovery, which offers independence from bad habits and addictions.
Sarah Burton, ministry leader at Grace Community Church, has been attending this event for many years. While this year’s event started off slow, it quickly picked up momentum. All the more to share the good news with others, she said.
“[We want to help them become] independent of their baggage,” she said. “We are a whole family church, we offer services for children, adults, middle school and teens, and we want to see families become healthy and whole.”
Other attendees used the event to celebrate the freedom their country provides them, especially the freedom to live their lives and celebrate their own traditions.
Marysol Jaimes was born in Miami to parents who moved there from Mexico. As a second generation immigrant, she appreciates the new life that her country provides her and her family.
She also appreciates the freedom her country provides her to follow her native traditions, which she shares with others by creating crafts such as wooden flowers and sugar skulls.
She has been in business for more than a year, and already this budding entrepreneur has experienced great success, and she attributes it all to her country being a land of opportunity.
“I like to show everyone our traditions, and we feel like passing those traditions in our family and to everyone who is interested,” she said.