IMPERIAL — For Valerie Boston the Fourth of July is not just any other day. For her it is one of the most important days of the year.
“It celebrates all of our freedoms. It celebrates our victories, not only of the past but in the future. It celebrates our military, the ones that are serving now, the ones that have served in the past, and the ones that have gone on and sacrificed their lives for your freedoms,” said Boston, a pyrotechnician from Fireworks America and operator for Freedom Fest celebration.
Although Boston and her Fireworks America crew members are in charge of all things fireworks for Freedom Fest tonight, she says that it’s really the Imperial Valley community that has made this Fourth of July so special.
“It’s like your watch, can you take one part out of your watch and will it still work? No. Every single piece has to work and it has to work together as one,” Boston said.
“I may be the operator, but it’s not about me, it’s about your community. My most important thing is my crew to make this work because I can’t do this by myself. It’s a team and it goes back to the family,” she said.
Although Boston’s team has been unloading fireworks and setting up for tonight’s Freedom Fest celebration since Monday, the real preparation began sometime in April, said Gloria Brister, Freedom Fest entertainment and aesthetic display coordinator.
In April the initial meeting was held and by May meetings were set once a week to go over music, booths, firework choreography and everything else Freedom Fest related, said Brister.
With 34,000 residents expected to participate in the Freedom Fest festivities, Brister believes it’s the community’s compassion that has driven Freedom Fest to its 22nd year.
“Although the Imperial Valley is the most economically challenged community in California, it is the richest in compassion and heart,” Brister said.
This feeling of united patriotism was also felt by a lot of Valley members this week.
“I think it’s a great time for people to reflect on the past and reflect on what people are doing for us right now in Afghanistan to protect our freedom,” Valley resident Rey Delarosa said.
Boston expects the 23-minute long fireworks display to take many participants back to simpler days.
“I like doing this, but what it gives people in the community is just so much more because what we do may take a long time to set up and it may go off in a short period of time but the joy it gives people is incredible,” Boston said. “The most important thing is that we are celebrating our country.”
Staff Writer Celeste Alvarez can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at email@example.com
By the numbers
379 remote firework cues during the display
23.03 length of display minutes
493 3-inch mortar tube racks
104 4-inch mortar tube racks
34 5-inch mortar tube racks
60 6-inch mortar tube racks
15 “cakes” multiple fireworks
If you go
What — Freedom Fest 2012 Made in America
When — 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. today. Concessions open at 6 p.m. and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Where — Imperial Valley College, 380 E. Aten Road in Imperial
More info — Admission is free. No outside fireworks or pets permitted.
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