Fourth Of July

Music, games and 30 minutes of fireworks

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Ask music veterans Western Fusion and they'll tell you that country music fans are the most open minded.

While the band plays everything from Merle Haggard to Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban, they've also been known to throw out some rock 'n' roll.

On any given night, their set might include songs by Matchbox 20 and Billy Idol or a song by KC and the Sunshine Band.

It's a mix they can get away with in a country bar, that would never go over in a rock 'n' roll venue, said Western Fusion founding member Brian Childress.

"In the country bars you can get away with playing a little bit of rock and a little bit of this and a little bit of that," Childress said. "In a rock bar, you can't play any country, and country fits us the best."

The different musical backgrounds of members make it fun for them to treat their audience to both kinds of music.

"Our drummer played in some top 40 rock bands in the 1980s, same with our keyboard player," Childress said. "My fiddle player comes from a bluegrass background and my bass player comes from really classic country and me, I'm just kind of mixed up with all of it."

Western Fusion will play at tonight's Fourth of July free concert in Green Valley Park.

The band has performed all over Arizona, entertaining at Camp Verde Days, Phoenix International Raceway and opening shows for Charlie Daniels and Blake Shelton.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, at the amphitheater in Green Valley Park.

The live music will be followed by fireworks, which begin around 9 p.m.

A total of 2,205 effects will be launched into the air over 30 minutes by Fireworks Productions of Arizona.

"The grand finale will be a 60-shell piece including 35 of the big ones," said Payson Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind.

Because the fireworks are set off over the lake and the area is foamed and nearby park grounds irrigated, Schwind is not anticipating any problems unless the wind kicks up.

The Fire Department will have officers on hand to keep track of embers.

This year, there will not be any shuttle service to the Fourth of July events.

The east parking lot along Green Valley Parkway near the band shell is reserved for the handicapped.

People can park their vehicles at other GVP parking lots, and at Julia Randall Elementary School. People can also park at the high school and walk over to the festivities.

Fourth of July at Green Valley Park

2 to 9 p.m. Public Safety Christmas for Kids concession stand

3 to 5 p.m. Payson Parks and Recreation-sponsored games

7 to 9 p.m. Western Fusion Band, part of the Concert Under the Stars series

9 p.m. Fireworks

Parking and road closures

  • Starting at 7 p.m., South Country Club Lane and West Lake Drive will be blocked off by the Payson Police Department. Officers will only allow residents and guests of residents through the roadblock.
  • At the conclusion of the fireworks show, there will be two lanes of traffic eastbound on Main Street. There will be no westbound traffic.
  • Any traffic in the areas of Oak Street, Frontier Street or Summit will be required to use South McLane to exit the area.
  • Traffic west of Green Valley Park will need to take Vista to Airport Road to exit the area.

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