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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Independence Day on campus

Graphic+by+Josh+Seal
Graphic by Josh Seal

Each fourth of July, thousands of people flock to the A&M campus to sprawl out on blankets or in the grass to watch a colorful shower of light bursts in the sky.
The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum will host the Noon Lions Club’s — a local community service organization — annual Independence Day celebration and once again display the largest fireworks show in the Brazos Valley Friday.
Tracy Paine, director of public programs at the George Bush Library, said the celebration was a wonderful tradition that Texas A&M has kept over the years.
“Even if you don’t come onto the grounds, you will still be able to see and hear the fireworks display from all around College Station,” Paine said.
The library has hosted the celebration for 13 years, but the Noon Lions Club has organized the annual festivities for more than 50 years, said Bill Lartigue, head coordinator for the College Station Noon Lions Club.
This year’s celebration is named “I Love America.”
“It’s evolved from a small fireworks show into a partnership with Texas A&M, The George Bush Library and College Station and it’s getting better and better every year,” Lartigue said.
There will be opportunities for entertainment for people of all ages, including performances by the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, which will be playing different patriotic selections, and several other local bands, said Will King, marketing and communications director for the Bush Library.
“Katye Hamlin will be performing at 5 p.m.,” King said. “Then we’ll have the Greg Tivis Jazz Band, and country singer Brett Graham.”
The Library and Museum will open its doors at 9:30 a.m. and remain open for 11 hours for people to view the exhibits. There is no admission fee the entire day.
“This is the busiest day for the Library all year,” Lartigue said. “People spread out over the entire parking lot
The “I Love America” fireworks show and all forms of entertainment are free, King said. However, there will still be a small charge for concessions in the form of tickets, which will cost $1 each.
This year’s celebration will feature some new vending options that were not present in previous years, said Lartigue.
“We’re going to have snow cones, roasted corn, sausage on a stick, free watermelon and all the other things we had in the past,” Lartigue said. “We’re also going to add kettle corn, ice cream, and cotton candy this year.”
Lartigue said one of the reasons the Noon Lions Club added several new concession stands was to alleviate the long wait to get food and water.
“This is the busiest day for the Library all year,” Lartigue said. “People spread out over the entire parking lot, which is why we had to add more food stand; they make the lines shorter and the experience more enjoyable for everyone.”
Lartigue said it was traditions like the Library’s Fourth of July celebration that would help “alleviate the pains” of the students who are unable to make it home to their families or travel elsewhere for the holiday.
“It’s a carnival atmosphere with a lot of food, and good music on a Friday night,” Lartigue said. “You can show your patriotism without even having to leave town, so you can’t really beat it.”
Attendees will be able to park in several places, including the West Campus Garage and lots 97 and 100. Parking lot 41 will be available to disabled attendees.
At 4:30 p.m., a half hour prior to the start of the main festivities, free shuttles will begin travelling from the lots to the Bush Library. The fireworks show will begin at 9:45 p.m.
A detailed map for traffic direction and parking and a schedule for the event is located at www.bushlibrary.tamu.edu.

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