4th Fest sights, sounds draw thousands to Centre County

Brilliant blue and red flashes filled the sky Thursday night as the annual Central PA 4th Fest firework display rocked the valley.

The pyrotechnics were again a big hit judging by the large crowds around Beaver Stadium. Chairs and blankets covered the ground as families vied for the perfect viewing location.

But before the fireworks began, another tradition that’s become almost as important as the fireworks kicked off with a song.

A group of volunteers sang “Happy Birthday” to the county, and cut into a cake large enough to feed more than 1,000 and weighed several hundred pounds.

It drew a long line through the west parking lot of Beaver Stadium as festival attendees lined up for a free treat.

Elsewhere, Paula Parker, director of Dino’s Operation Shoe Box, which sends care packages to troops overseas, was asking those attending 4th Fest to sign cards the organization will forward to the troops.

“I think this holiday is about more than just fireworks,” said State College resident Heather Desorcie, who took a moment to sign a card. “We came for the fireworks, but we also wanted to do this.”