LEMONT — Nature held off, and the Central PA 4th Fest took over.
Possible thunderstorms never materialized before the festivals annual fireworks extravaganza began lighting up a dusk sky softly streaked in color.
And after the 45-minute show featuring 13,000 shells and a varied soundtrack ended in a giant cluster of brilliant bursts, Ella Racette, 11, of Centre Hall, was bedazzled.
I really enjoyed the frenzied finale, she said.
She watched the show which unfolded to music that included patriotic melodies, the title track to The Magnificent Seven and Etta James At Last from the Lemont Elementary School playground lawn.
Dozens of families joined hers, stretching out in chairs across the grass in the warm night. Her 9-year-old brother, Lucas, liked the American flag colors, while their father, Brandon Racette, enjoyed the patriotism and sheer spectacle on display.
Its amazing, he said. Its worth going out for, for its length and variety.
He said he has been bringing his family to the Lemont site, where fireflies sparkle and children run around with glow sticks, for a few years.
We like the view and its kind of a family atmosphere, he said.
Some viewers staked out prime spots around Beaver Stadium early Wednesday morning. At one location, children played a running game of pickup baseball all day.
The Fink and Reiber families, friends from York, waited until about 5:30 p.m. to settle into a shady spot below the Penn State outdoor track. After a full day of sightseeing around the campus and downtown, they relaxed with a picnic.
Now were waiting for the fireworks, said Christel Reiber.
Mary Ellen Tremmell and her mother, Sally Tremmell, both from Duncansville, waited an hour longer arriving later than in years past because of the heat before they pitched their chairs. They happily returned to their favorite spot on a slope next to the Bryce Jordan Center, a bit surprised it hadnt already been taken.
Because you can see everything from here, Mary Ellen Tremmel said. Its not like you can miss anything.
Added her mother: And the fireworks are excellent.
Thats what Noah Pasquale, 8, of Reading, was counting on earlier while he enjoyed the 4th Fest carnival around the BJC and the stadium. He looked forward to seeing explosions up close in the VIP section.
Fourth of July, he said, theres only one thing to do: fireworks.
Chris Rosenblum can be reached at 231-4620. Follow him on Twitter @CRosenblumNews