An Old Town Fourth: Helena residents wowed at annual Independence Day celebration

Published 6:37 pm Thursday, July 4, 2024

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HELENA – The city of Helena was bustling with excitement on Wednesday night, July 3 on the banks of Buck Creek as residents from Helena and beyond flooded into Old Town for what has become one of the area’s biggest events on the eve of the Fourth of July.

Over the years, Helena’s Independence Day Celebration has evolved and grown, but that growth has turned it into one of the most popular Fourth of July celebrations in the Birmingham-metro area the last two couple of years due to the Old Town Live collaboration.

A monthly event throughout the summer and into fall, Old Town Live features live music and vendors, but the Fourth of July version goes above and beyond.

The extravaganza not only featured live music from Drivin’ N Cryin, Bloodkin and Telluride in addition to more than 20 vendors, but led into a spectacular fireworks show that illuminated the night sky over Old Town Helena.

For Helena City Councilman Chris VanCleave, it was a special sight to see.

“When you think about Independence Day and Old Town Live Fourth of July fireworks event, it’s an opportunity for the community to come together and to celebrate our independence,” he said. “We are long past the days of having to fight a foreign nation to become free. This is a solidification of that over and over again every year that we celebrate the freedoms that everyone before us fought so hard for on our behalf.”

And the aspect of coming together was on full display as one of the largest Old Town Live crowds in the event’s history came together as neighbors to celebrate the holiday.

The crowd’s excitement was evident both in person and across social media as they shared their thanks to those responsible for the entertaining event in the city.

For VanCleave, it was the grown the event has seen over the years that made it a special night for him.

“It’s an eye-opening thing every year to come,” VanCleave said. “When I first started, gosh, 16-17 years ago, there weren’t a whole lot of fireworks, wasn’t a lot of excitement about it. Just to watch that excitement build year over year and the fireworks just keep getting better and better. More and more people just keep coming out for it. It just makes the celebration all the more fun.”

Coinciding with his birthday, he said it couldn’t have been a better present than to see people having so much fun in the city he loves so much, joking that he was excited so many turned out for his birthday party.

As the evening began to wind down, the fireworks lit up the night sky over Old Town, creating a canvas to cap off a special day in the city of Helena.