Lighting up the July 4 sky

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By Kirsten Laskey

Primary colors will decorate the Kiwanis’ Fourth of July celebration; splashes of red, white and blue set aglow by glittery fireworks, will fill up Overlook Park July 4. The spectacle, which gathers together about 15,000 people, has been held for 30 years. Its origins started around the 1960s and began with a man interested in bringing a Fourth of July celebration, like the one from his home town, to Los Alamos.

“My home town had one and I thought it was too bad we didn’t get everybody together and celebrate like we did in my home town,” club member Steve Stoddard said.

This desire led him and others to begin work on an Independence Day event. Stoddard said he and another Kiwanis member traveled to different businesses, asking for a $50 donation to purchase fireworks. In its early history, the Fourth of July celebration also included a guest speaker.

Stoddard added the Elks were influential with keeping the event going and the Sunrise Kiwanis Club members also managed the event for several years before the club folded.

As the years went on, Stoddard said the event got bigger and bigger and more expensive to run.

As it got bigger, it attracted more attention. “A lot of people are enjoying it, besides people in Los Alamos,” he said.

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