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The day-long celebration in Salida for the Fourth of July ended with the traditional fireworks display. Merrell Bergin photo

Salida’s celebration of the Fourth of July had visitors looking for shade as they lined up for food and beverage throughout a day of activities. Continuous entertainment began at 12:00 noon in Riverside Park, and the headliner band Santa Rios wrapped up a little after 9:30 p.m. just before the fireworks.

Lunch time in Riverside Park featured an array of cuisines, smoothies, beer, and wine during July 4 festivities in Salida. Merrell Bergin photo

The park featured numerous booths, including beer from Salida’s Soulcraft Brewing. Riverside Park became the center of activity, with crowds moving back and forth.

Tickets for beer, wine and other beverage sales were handled by the Rotary Club of Salida.

The beverage proceeds benefit Rotary Club programs as well as those of the event’s main organizer, Elaine Allemang, and the volunteers of the Salida Community Center.

Salida Bike Parade ringleader Nicole Balun and friend in full regalia, with Jim Balun in orange vest keep the assembled formation in line and ready to start. Merrell Bergin photo

All of the activities celebrating the nation’s birthday party were leading toward one grand finale: the fireworks set for Tenderfoot Mountain (otherwise known as “S” Mountain) at sunset.

As the sun started to fade, people began lining up on the F Street bridge while others marked their spots on the sidewalk and pedestrian plaza itself as the best places to watch the fireworks display.

While the day had been hot, a welcomed cool breeze picked up toward evening, with temperatures still in the low 70s, making for a beautiful evening.

Dogs and kids were everywhere on the streets and sidewalks, as the bands played on in Riverside Park.

But before the fireworks, there were other lighted activities to cheer on.

A bicycle parade, featuring a projected 200 lighted bikes, scooters, skateboards and other wheeled conveyances assembled in the F Street turnaround.

The bike parade, with a police escort, stepped off exactly at 9:00 p.m.

It made a leisurely clockwise loop eastward from Sackett Avenue, then went south for six blocks. It circled around to G Street before rounding the corner at Sackett to bring it on home.

Merrell Bergin video

Crowds close in on F Street as time for the Salida fireworks show draws near. Merrell Bergin photo

Crowds began to gravitate toward F Street as the time grew closer for the fireworks to begin. Impatience was on display, with various sparklers and Roman Candles lit.

As the sun sets over the Arkansas River in Salida, visitors gathered on the F Street bridge, waiting for the fireworks. Merrell Bergin photo

There was also the usual, very large, loud, and unsanctioned fireworks set alight in the railyard and west parking lot on the left bank of the Arkansas River.

Finally, it was time for the big show up on S Mountain, created by members of the Salida Fire Department, clearly delighting the thousands gathered to witness the nation’s birthday celebration.

It ended with multiple volleys in a grand finale and applause from the gathered crowd.

Much of the crowd then slowly filtered south on F Street, blankets, chairs, kids, wagons, and dogs in tow after a great day of fun.

Time to head home after a full day of fun in Riverside Park for Salida’s Fourth of July. Merrell Bergin photo