University Park

4thFest fireworks light up sky

University Park, Pa. -- Nonstop entertainment on three different stages, carnival rides, games, magic, demonstrations, food, birthday cake, a skydiver carrying a 7,000-square-foot flag and, of course a huge fireworks show kept many thousands of people entertained, as the largest all-volunteer 4thFest celebration unfolded Sunday on Penn State's University Park campus.

About 500 volunteers work on the show, with a core group working year-round on the planning, and their efforts have been recognized nationwide. According to the 4thFest website, the Travel Channel has called 4thFest "one of the best fireworks displays in the world." Fireworksguide.com ranks 4thFest third in its Top 10 list of the "largest, biggest, best 4th of July Fireworks shows annually," behind only Macy's 4th of July in New York City and the Pops Concert at the Esplanade in Boston.

The day started with a 4K race that broke all past attendance records with 1,029 people registered to run in this year's event. Last year, 909 people participated in the race. During the course of the day, volunteers grilled between 4,000 and 5,000 hot dogs, and served about 14,000 slices of birthday cake, while 20 different groups provided entertainment on three performance stages, in advance of a fireworks show that exploded 15,771 shells in 45 minutes.

The 4thFest committee depends on donations to keep the festival running from year to year. Visit http://www.4thfest.org/donations_individual.asp to make a donation.

For photos, check http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/2290 and http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/2291 online.

The signature event of the afternoon for this year's Star Spangled Spectacular was the delivery of a 7,000-square-foot flag by a skydiver from Team Fastrax. For more photos, click on the image above. Credit: Annemarie Mountz / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 19, 2010