How did you celebrate the 4th of July?

In League City, elected officials and city workers handed out more than 4,000 hot dogs, free sodas and hundreds of yards of cotton candy.

In Galveston, children on the West End had their own parade while an Army veteran who served in Iraq was given an unexpected hero’s welcome when he checked into his hotel.

In Friendswood, one of the oldest Independence Day parades in the state celebrated America’s birthday in advance of the city’s Fourth of July carnival and fireworks display.

Texas City saluted the Red, White and Blue with its annual parade to be followed by live music in the park.

When the sun set, there were fireworks shows scheduled for Texas City, Friendswood, Galveston, Kemah and the shores of Clear Lake for League City and Clear Lake Shores residents.

Amy Jimenea, 58, took in League City’s annual Fourth of July Citizen Appreciation Day party in League Park. It was a first for the longtime League City resident.

Fellow retired UTMB nurse Terry Zomok, 67, joined Jimenea. 

“It is very good,” she said as she danced to the classic rock music played by The Relics. “It is great for families to be able to just come out and enjoy.”

Kenny Walsh, the recreation supervisor for the city, said it takes about six months to plan the party where everything is free for residents. Free hot dogs, free sodas, free popcorn and free cotton candy.

The music was free, too.

He said about 30 staff members helped make the day special for residents who came out.

Among them was recreation specialist Ryan Stevenson, who in addition to handing out many of the 4,000 hot dogs on Friday, devised a system to keep them “fly free.”

“We haven’t had one fly land on any of our hot dogs,” he said as he waved a fan over the All-American food.

Council members Andy Mann, Joanna Dawson, Heidi Thiess and Geri Bentley were among the elected officials who pitched in to salute the city’s residents.

Family was the focus too on Galveston’s West End, where residents put together a children’s parade. Decorated bicycles and golf carts were the main draw.

One entry in particular poked fun at the island’s challenges of dealing with the daily deluge of seaweed washing up on the resort town’s beaches. 

A sign on the cart read “Happy 4th of July under the Seaweed.”

With thousands of tourists in town for the holiday, one could easily forget the sacrifices made by members of the U.S. military.

That wasn’t the case at the Hilton Hotel, where workers and hotel guests made one Army veteran’s weekend getaway with his wife extra special.

Michael Daniel, who had tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, had just one night to spend with his wife. The two drove to Galveston from Beaumont on Friday morning.

When hotel staff found out he was a soldier, they put together an impromptu salute.

They encouraged guests to line up at the door to greet Daniel and his wife.

While crowded, Galveston had few problems along the beach as of late Friday afternoon, Galveston Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said.

By 5 p.m. there had already been one near drowning, a couple of rescues and 800 swimmers had to be moved out of dangerous areas for swimming, he said. There were also 28 reports of lost children.

All were found, Davis said.

As night fell, many gathered along the seawall in Galveston, the dike in Texas City, the boardwalk in Kemah and Centennial Park in Friendswood for the series of Fourth of July fireworks displays.

Not willing to let the Independence Day celebration end on the 4th of July, today in Santa Fe at Haak Winery there will be an All-American car and truck show and wine tasting.

In a first for the winery, proceeds from the car show and show admission will go to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. The show starts at 2 p.m. and features live music from the Pee Wee Bowen Band.

 

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