July 4, 2018
There were no sites available at Fort Wilkins for the Fourth of July due to Copper Harbor’s big celebration so we had to roll out, but not until after their parade rolled through the campground. The walking portion doesn’t make it out past the town so we missed that but we were able to see the floats, fire trucks and other vehicles that came through… AND they all threw candy. SCORE!
Our next site was at F. J. McClain State Park which is about an hour south of Copper Harbor. We asked around and found out the only nearby options for fireworks was back up to a very crowded Copper Harbor or down a bit to the tiny town of South Ridge. It is a seriously tiny and partly boarded up town. We figured it wouldn’t be much of a show but we had committed to seeing fireworks so off we went.
We got to the park early and settled in. A nice family shared sparklers with Chloe and people threw frisbees and chatted while they waited. Around dusk a few small aerial bursts went off behind us… a few minutes later a couple went up in front of us… then to the side. Huh, we thought. They are launching from three locations. There were big gaps between the launches so we watched and waited figuring they weren’t great but we were enjoying ourselves.
Then that nice family lit and launched a paper Chinese lantern. It took a lot of work to get it in the air without torching it but they succeeded. We all watched as it slowly rose and drifted across the field… the dry grass field. First it was all smiles then as it rose higher, and drifted farther, and crossed the trees, and headed to the far side of town… the worry set in. We could hear the conversation “should we jump in the car and try to follow it?” “It’s supposed to burn out before it comes down” “It’s going down over by the church” “What if it sets something on fire?” Anxious eyes watched where the lantern had disappeared behind the trees but there was no sign of smoke or fire. I suspect that’s the last Chinese lantern that family sets adrift!
Once it got truly dark the town itself let loose. Apparently those three launch areas were just people shooting of their own fire works. The town put on an awesome, continuous display. We thoroughly enjoyed it as did what looked like many hundreds of people. We wondered how the town could afford the display AND where did all those people come from? It was people and cars as far as the eye could see. We were very pleased that we chose South Ridge.