Despite weather conditions that were less than ideal, two new fireworks shows over the weekend in Highland County drew large crowds.
On Saturday evening when the temperature was nice but there was occasional light rain, the Rocky Fork Community Alliance and Rocky Fork State Park threw a party and fireworks show. A free dinner along with kids games, deejay music and more were staged from the North Beach area starting at 5 p.m. Then at dark the two groups and local businesses combined to provide a fireworks display launched from the South Beach area, requiring that part of the lake to be closed down.
The display was probably best viewed from the North Beach area, which was completely packed with vehicles from the large parking lot down around the boat docks in the same area. Dozens of boaters were also scattered around on the lake to watch the show.
Traffic was backed up in long lines after the fireworks display, but officers stationed at strategic points to direct traffic made the lines flow fairly quickly.
In addition to the RFCA and state park, the show was made possible by the Highland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Beechwood Carryout and Pizza, Marshall Quarry, Lakeside Realty, Polaris Home Funding, Hinton Honey, Joey’s Pizza, Buckeye Boat Repair, Old Days Vintage Campers, and Milton Goff Attorney at Law, with the support of the Marshall Township Volunteer Fire Department, Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ohio Bible Mission Training Center, Rocky Fork Volunteers, Paint and Marshall township trustees, and others.
A Fourth of July-related fireworks display had been held at the lake in recent years by a private group on private property, but this was the first time the state park and RFCA teamed up to supply the display.
On Sunday evening when temperatures were unseasonably cool in the low 60s even before the sun went down, private individuals, businesses and the city of Hillsboro provided a fireworks display at the Highland County Fairgrounds.
The display was launched from the tractor pull area at the fairgrounds and most of those watching observed from the 25-acre parking lot across Fairground Road from the main fairground area. But numerous vehicles were also parked on several of the former Hillsboro High School location parking lots and other places around town to avoid the traffic.
Officials directing traffic again kept delays getting out of the main parking area to a minimum.
The Sunday show was made possible by a $5,000 donation from the city of Hillsboro, plus the Highland County Fairboard, Little Caesars, Merchants National Bank, First State Bank, Wilmington Savings Bank, T & S Mechanical, Bear Mechanical, Barrera’s Garage, Jerry Haag Motors, Classic Real Estate, NCB Bank, Weastec, Abbott Imaging Solutions, Chris Lewis CPA, Paps Hilltop Honey and the Lewis Financial Group.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.