HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Around the Tennessee Valley, fiery spectacles lit up the skies as nearly a dozen major fireworks shows went of without a hitch. At Huntsville's U.S. Space & Rocket Center's annual Fourth of July fireworks show, for the first time Calhoun Community College's campus opened its gates and allowed spectators to park -- with all proceeds benefiting a good cause. The proceeds went to student groups and scholarships.
People came from all over to sit and watch the fireworks, which lept to heights twice as tall as the Saturn V. For many, it was the best place to see the show.
"We're in a good position," said James Hutchinson. "We've got a front row seat!"
"It's the perfect place to sit and watch the fireworks. A great view!" said Susan Davis.
One popular option was creating a makeshift sitting area in the bed of a pickup truck. Leonardo Cordoba's group did just that, with chairs and cushions. They were among those who arrived 2.5 hours before the fireworks show.
"We were afraid that this thing would be packed," he said. "So we got there early and to get the perfect spot."
Calhoun charged $10 per parking space in front of the new building.
Barbara Hutchinson said, "It's wonderful, but the price is a little pricy." Still, she said she liked the idea that the money went to students.
Jaden Bush is president of Calhoun's student ambassador program. They were among the volunteers who helped out at the Calhoun entrances.
"This helps benefit Calhoun's campus and grow it more in the community," he explained.
When it was time for the show, families were all smiles. Some noted that the show was worth the drive.
"This is to celebrate our freedom and our independence," commented Ben Davis.
"It's very important. It's God, family and country in that order. Don't get them mixed up!" said James Hutchinson.
The fireworks got bigger and better this year, and that's what some say keeps them coming back.
Danielle Britting couldn't pick a favorite firework this year: "I love all of them!" she said.