Saturday, July 5, 2008 | 1:44 a.m.
It was a steep walk down the short, winding descent into the arena at Anthem Hills Park that hosted one of Henderson's Fourth of July blowouts Friday.
Residents lugged ice chests, blankets and folding chairs onto the field and set up camp. The warm, sweet and salty aroma of Kettle Corn filled the west side of the field and the heat from the popping machines could be felt from the line forming to sample some of the kernels.
"It's intense. The kettle's 250 degrees, and you can see we're all sweating. It's so hot," said Dawn Young, co-owner of Ma & Pa Kettle Corn.
But what's a Fourth of July celebration without a little heat? And a hot dog?
Dawg Daze had a booth set up to ensure the great American tradition of hot dogs on the Fourth wasn’t lost.
Not just a day of celebration, Anthem Hills Park was also prime for promotional work.
July 4 Special Section
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The cast from Disney's "High School Musical 2 On Stage,” presented by Green Valley High School and The Las Vegas International Performing Arts Exchange, was hard to miss in its bright red T-shirts and red visors advertising the upcoming performance.
Milling around the families and couples was a mini-cart filled with toy swords that lit up and butterfly necklaces that flickered multi-colored lights. They also served as a replacement for the traditional sparkler that had been banned from the park.
"We sell light-up stuff for the city of Henderson for all of their big events," said Jason Court, a part owner in the business Glowing Jem.
On stage, jazz saxophonist Jackiem Joyner had the crowd plugged in -- and a few even danced. But for all of the extras planned around the event, the pending explosions promised to the crowd at 9 p.m. couldn’t be overshadowed.
When asked about her favorite part of the Fourth of July, 14-year-old Jessica Rhodes, of Washington, D.C., replied “Fireworks.”
At 8:50 p.m., the lights went out save for a couple of generator-powered halogens at the concession stands and the flickering of glow sticks. Then, there was silence.
Unannounced, high-pitched streams of fire rocketed up into the sky and azure blue, gold, jade and magenta blooms leapt toward the crowd only to dissipate into the dark sky.
For nearly seven minutes, the Las Vegas sky was lit up with more than just a host of reverberating neon lights.