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July 5, 2013

Lake Park July 4 celebration undaunted by showers

LAKE PARK — If July 4 is about friends, families and communities coming together, then perhaps no community exemplified that Thursday better than Lake Park.

It started with a parade up and down U.S. 41, full of antique cars, convertibles, Boy Scouts and firetrucks.

Then in the afternoon, it moved to Tom's Pond, with games and giant slides for the kids and hot dogs and watermelon for everyone.

And while these events serve to bring the community together, just the act of putting it together saw a wide swath of community support.

Take Christy Brownell, who, with her husband, Jim, owns and operates Lake Park Hardware. When the city council announced it wanted to put on a fireworks display, Brownell visited local businesses asking for donations to put towards the festivities.

“The people and the businesses of Lake Park want Lake Park to be the best,” said Christy. “And it takes all of us together. The businesses came together. It wasn't me, it was them.”

“Well, it's a patriotic holiday,” said Jim. “And the City of Lake Park, that's where our business is. We have to support it.”

It was a feeling shared by many local businesses, such as the Great American Chrome Shop and Zaxby's. Other businesses donated goods, with Pepsi donating drinks to the afternoon celebration, Winn-Dixie donating hot dogs and Carter's Produce supplying fresh corn on the cob.

Not even the rain pouring down in torrents at Tom's Pond could crush the community spirit.

“These events, they bring the community together,” said Lake Park Mayor Eric Schindler. “It binds us together, lets everybody know that we love our country. And it lets our kids know. It lets them ask questions about the day, to learn about today and its history.”

As of press time, Lake Park was still planning on holding their fireworks show, weather permitting. If the rain doesn't let up, they'll hold it another night.

“We don't plan on giving up,” said Schindler. “We're not quitters.”

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