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Thousands attend city's 34th annual fireworks display

Skies clear after days of rain.

Isadora Vail
Aaron Mueller gets fed some watermelon by son Jack during the South River City Citizens picnic Sunday.

For 34 years, H-E-B, the City of Austin, and the Austin Symphony Orchestra have teamed up for the city's annual fireworks display.

David and Lisa Vyvjala have attended the show every year for more than two decades, despite Austin's unpredictable weather.

"We've been here when it was steaming hot and when it was pouring rain, but it is really nice to see some grass here this year," Lisa Vyvjala said before the 23-minute fireworks show at Auditorium Shores. "This is one of the few things that the city still hosts that is family-oriented."

Despite the rainy weather Austin saw over the past week, the skies cleared up and the temperatures rose just in time for the city to have a summery Fourth of July.

Food, drink and art stands lined Auditorium Shores, but the longest line was for water.

Children donned glittery stars on their cheeks, and red, white and blue attire. Some kids played Frisbee or baseball while their parents fanned themselves in an attempt to cool off from the 90-degree weather.

Gianna Mares, 7, wore a sparkling headband and cheerleader outfit that she said she picked out herself.

Before the show began, she danced to the music of the Austin Symphony Orchestra , which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

"My favorite part is when I get to pop fireworks," Gianna said, stressing the 'I.'

The city display usually brings out about 100,000 spectators. By 8 p.m., both the Congress Avenue and South First Street bridges were packed with onlookers.

Dozens of people in canoes, boats and kayaks on Lady Bird Lake paused to watch the fireworks.

Tammy West, who paddled up with four other kayakers, said the best way to get to the festivities is by boat.

"Look at the lake, and then look at the shore," West said. "Then again, I like to watch the flowers and the birds and just enjoy the ride."

West and the other kayakers rested for a minute before deciding to get back in their boats to watch the display.

"It's just so pretty out on the lake, and the breeze makes it so nice," West said.

Just before 9:30 p.m., the fireworks began and the orchestra played along, providing a live sound track to the pyrotechnic display.

ivail@statesman.com; 445-3763