BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — The Carnival was silent.
The empty swing seats flew in a circular motion through the air, the shiny train squeaked, squealed and stopped without the unbuckling of one seat belt, the slide stood stoically pretending that nothing was wrong, and raindrops streamed down the standstill metal attractions, like tears rolling down disappointed cheeks.
That’s right, one of Clifton Park’s largest events of the year — the 4th of July Celebration — was a dead zone as a result of some rather lousy weather.
“This event has become so popular because we are able bring together so many community partners and organizations into one place to celebrate all the great things about Clifton Park and America,” town Councilwoman Amy Standaert said. Sadly, this year, the water droplets scared off many who preferred to stay dry within the comfort of home.
However, there were a hardy few — like little Jasmine Hartley — who wouldn’t let the rain stand in the way of a good time. Her face — framed by blond frizzes that rebelled against being bound within her ponytail — was camouflaged with a layer of pink and white glitter, creating the whiskered mien of a cat. With her parents and younger brother following close behind, she extracted every ounce of fun to be had at the moistened festival.
“The swings are my favorite ride!” she said with a wide, exuberant smile.
The others who braved the dreary dampness were able to ride the roller coaster, hop into the moving (and frighteningly big) bears and brave the skyscraper-like slide with no lines and no waiting.
In the adjacent parking lot, the craft fair and food vendors — clad in raincoats — were waiting for customers at their posts. The air was saturated with the scent of sweet, melt-in-your-mouth cotton candy, fried dough dusted with white confectioners sugar and — of course — that traditional American favorite, good old-fashioned hotdogs and hamburgers.
As the weather lightened and night drew near, it was fireworks that you could hear. They sparkled, hissed, shimmered, popped and exploded, and hues of red, blue, green, gold, yellow, pink and purple filled the air. As the finale boomed, eyes widened in wonder, awe and remembrance of those who gave their lives and fought for our freedom, giving us the ability to become the United States of America.
“The fireworks are definitely my favorite part,” Standaert said. “Nothing says God bless America’s liberty and freedom like a good firework display!”
She continued: “Celebrating America’s independence is especially important for us in Clifton Park because we recognize, value and respect the sacrifices that so many patriots have made and continue to make for our freedom. That can never be taken advantage of or forgotten, and it’s up to us to continue celebrating our freedom for future generations.”