Tents and trucks filled the fields of Lake Murray State Park Thursday as people from across Southern Oklahoma gathered to enjoy the fireworks display.
By 6:30 p.m., park manager Richard Keithley said there were already around 60 to 70 vehicles in the area. With the show beginning at 9 p.m., Keithley said there are normally only about 10 cars on site that early.
 “We’re going to have a good crowd and we’ve already got a big crowd developing,” Keithley said. “So it’s a big deal.”
Keithley said the number would probably grow to 500 to 600 vehicles by the time the fireworks began. Most of the individuals at the display were from Ardmore, Healdton, Dickson and Madill, he said. But some families even brought friends from as far away as Kansas.
The Lemaster-Jones family, of Ardmore, said celebrating the Fourth of July at Lake Murray has become a tradition for them. It was the first time for their family friend from Kansas, the second time for a young girl of the family and the 19th time for the rest of the family.
Like many other families at the celebration, the Lemaster-Jones family gathered together under a tent as they awaited the start of the show. “It’ll be good as always,” one family member said.
Samantha Bradley and her husband from Lone Grove said they too had been to the show before as kids, but they wanted to share the experience with their children for the first time this year.
But it wasn’t only children who were new to the Lake Murray display. Jenni Langley, of Marietta, said this year was her first time viewing the fireworks at the lake.
Langley said she was excited for the show and believes it is important to commemorate not only the founding fathers but the United States military while partaking in Fourth of July celebrations. “Those people on this beach need to thank those people on that beach,” Langley said, referring to a post she had seen about the Normandy landings, also known as “D-Day.”
“It’s definitely important to celebrate our freedom, it was very hard fought for,” Langley said. “You think about the military all the way long.”
Keithley said around 700 shells of fireworks went off this year, making it a 15 to 20 minute show.