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10:54 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

Fireworks, flag-raising other festivities mark Independence Day

A 20-minute fireworks display Friday evening culminated Fourth of July festivities in Kingman that kicked off with a flag raising and included a variety of activities at the Mohave County Fairgrounds.

The city of Kingman conducted the fireworks display for the first time in years at the fairgrounds because work along the Mohave Wash across from Centennial Park closed off the vacant lot where city crews launched previous displays.

The fireworks display drew an estimated 2,000 people to the grounds of the fairgrounds while as many as 1,500 people remained inside the main building, fairgrounds manager Errol Pherigo said before the event.

Pherigo said the parking lot was full, adding, "There's a lot of people sitting out there watching."

Fourth of July celebrants packed the bleachers, stood around and sat on lawn chairs during the display, which started around 9:15 p.m.

Fireworks featuring an array of colors burst into the night air in rapid succession, lighted up the bleachers and drew screams from children.

Kierstyn Fussy of Scottsdale, who turns 3 next Friday, enjoyed the display with three other generations of her family while sitting in the bleachers.

She pointed to the fireworks display and said, "They are very, very loud."

Alex Lovecchio, 5, of Kingman, also was in awe.

"They're cool," he said.

"They blow up."

However, Megan Bailey, a 16-year-old Kingman girl who recently finished her sophomore year, was less impressed.

"It's a good show, but I liked it better at Centennial because there was grass to lay on and sit on, and it was free," she said.

Fairgrounds officials charged $2 for admission and $1 for parking.

After the fireworks ended, participants headed to their vehicles, and waited minutes to leave the grounds.

The traffic bottleneck extended to Stockton Hill Road.

Earlier in the day, the fairgrounds featured a talent show for the children, mud mania, games and a car show.

During the talent show, 12-year-old Tommy Hein of Bullhead City drew the most applause in the 10-13 age category after he juggled bowling pins while standing and later while riding a unicycle.

He received a first-place trophy.

He faced competition from soloist Tasha Pherigo – the 10-year-old daughter of the fair manager – and a trio consisting of sisters Kd and Gina Diaz and Heather Young.

Heather, 11, said she and Kd, 11, and Gina, 12, perform at church camp and vacation Bible school.

Kd said her father, Kent, named her for his initials.

"He wanted me to be a boy," she said.

She said her physical education teacher calls her "k.d.

lang," a crossover country singer.

She added that she does not know who Lang is.

Other children – and some adults – took part in the mud mania competition in a small obstacle course outside.

The course featured tires, cones, a wall, tunnel and a water-filled trench.

Mud mania volunteers Franky White and Walter Grace III hosed down the contestants.

"I liked it," Grace said on Friday evening before the fireworks launch.

"It is fun.

The mud.

The kids would smile when they go through they mud.

They are able to get dirty without getting into trouble."

Festivities started at 9 a.m.

at Centennial Park with a flag-raising ceremony hosted by officers of Kingman Elks Lodge No.

468.

Members of the Kingman Concert Band performed patriotic songs, the color guard from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3516 stood guard and a succession of dignitaries gave brief speeches.

The 40-minute ceremony drew more than 60 people.

Dignitaries who included Kingman Mayor Les Byram, former County Supervisor and Mayor Carol Anderson, Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan, Superior Court Judge Bob Moon and state Rep.

Joe Hart, R-Kingman commemorated the nation's 227th anniversary.

"Even with its imperfections, we are the greatest country in the world," Hart said.