Families start new Fourth of July tradition at July4York
As a family from Queens, N.Y., was looking online for something to do this year on the Fourth of July, they stumbled across a website for an event called July4York.
They didn't know much about it, but the fact that it was a family-friendly festival away from their hometown was enough for them to decide to make the trip.
Magaly Imbachi piled her two sons, her mother and a family friend in the car Saturday, booked a hotel and began the 200-mile journey to York's annual Fourth of July event.
"I wanted to be out of New York in a nice place without too many people," she said.
She got what she was looking for.
July4York, which has been held at York Revolution's Santander Stadium in York for the past three years, included lawn games, barbecue grills, beer, food, live music and, of course, fireworks.
"It's calm," she said when she arrived. "There aren't that many people. New York is crazy, but we wanted to have a relaxing time."
More than 5,000 people attended Saturday night's festival. In past years, attendance has reached over 10,000, organizer Adam Nugent said. But the weather might have scared some people away.
Imbachi said she has been to festivals with similar attractions in New York, but they're always too crowded.
To get away from crowded festivals, Imbachi normally takes her family to the beach for Fourth of July weekend, but her 15-year-old son said he didn't miss it too much this year.
"I really like (July4York)," Louis Mojica said while watching his younger brother take a turn on the mechanical bull. "I've never been any place like this before."
Imbachi wasn't the only one looking for a new way to celebrate Fourth of July this year.
Tiffany Koontz, of Dover Township, normally spends Fourth of July evening at the Out Door Country Club in York. But, this year, she said she was looking for something with more activities for children.
In addition to the carousel, inflatable slides, obstacle course and climbing challenges at Stauffer's Playground inside the stadium, the festival included face painting, games, a foam dance party, a mechanical bull and more.
"It's really nice," Tiffany Koontz, of Dover Township, said. "It's a great community event, where everything's free, there's lots for the kids to do and it's a safe place to come."
Jennifer Powizzotto, of Dover Township, also brought her family for the first time and said she thinks it could become a new Fourth of July tradition for them.
"It seems like good family time," she said. "I'm hoping to enjoy everything."
Fast facts from July4York
How many people attended: 5,364
Number of fireworks shot off: More than 1,000 shells
How much foam used for the dance party: 300 gallons of suds solution
Number of staff members working the event: 123
Number of people who rode the mechanical bull: 197