Monday, July 11, 2005

Before the Glow of July 4th Fades

It's been a week since I sat down to write this dispatch; but there were so many other items about which to write last week, that it is now just a belated Independence Day reflection.

We attended our neighbors' July 4th celebration, which included a cookout and gathering on the second story of their deck to watch the pyrotechnics from the North End. I was not expecting much, since we seemed pretty far away from the East Bank; and I remember the tall bluff--across which the Downtown Connector Greenway is saddled--that seems to obstruct sight of anything to the southeast above the river except for the highest flying objects.

But once the skyrockets started going off, the show provided a much different and no less impressive perspective as any I have seen in the past.

Here's a retrospective of places where I have viewed Nashville's fireworks in the past (in no particular order):
  • Downtown --the only time I was actually at Riverfront Park for the show was a couple of years ago, and while it was one of the best fireworks displays I have ever seen, I enjoyed the legendary Al Green's set during the concert portion much more than the fireworks themselves. To get a good spot to enjoy this venue, you have to show up early; for me to show up in the wilting daytime July 4 heat, there better be somebody more worthy than Diamond Rio performing. Al Green is past worthy; he's holy ground; we arrived mid-morning to await that show (S-townwife and I appeared for a few seconds on the nationwide broadcast as we danced to Rev. Al's "Let's Stay Together").
  • Love Circle--I made the mistake of going several times during the 1990s. It was usually crowded and I was never that impressed with the show. I'm not even sure you can go up there after sundown on July 4 now.
  • Rolling Mill Hill/SoBro--one year I sat in a lawn chair in the bed of my pickup truck, which was parked near the old Solo Mio building. Great view of Downtown and not a bad fireworks venue.
  • East Bank/Coliseum--our last year in Historic Edgefield, we packed up the kids just before the fireworks started, joined the traffic flow on the east side of the Coliseum, and pulled up on a sidewalk just as the first explosions were going off. Every other motorist in the area apparently had the same idea, and the police seemed to stop trying to keep the traffic moving, at least until the show was over. Great view except that the Coliseum blocked the view of low flying explosions.
While I have seen Nashville's fireworks from closer vantage points in the past (Riverfront and Rolling Mill Hill/SoBro were the best for close range), I am glad that we watched them from Salemtown this year. Not only did we spend quality time with several of our neighbors, but the venue was relaxed and comfortable. And the view was unique. Being able to take in skyscrapers alongside the pyrotechnics yields a very different and interesting scale to the show that I am glad I did not miss.

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