Despite a thumping fireworks show and a near-record-breaking crowd, the Fourth of July holiday weekend was surprisingly quiet this year, according to emergency officials.
Search and rescue crews had no lost or injured hikers to attend to, there were no major fires to battle and police only made one DUI arrest.
Police Chief Don Engler said things went smoothly at the Green Valley Park festivities with the real fireworks occurring off-site with a number of disorderly conduct arrests.
At the park, officers cited and released three people for open containers of alcohol and helped reunite five lost children with their parents.
It took crews an hour and a half to clear everyone out of the park, but there were no accidents or scuffles despite the congestion, he said.
“People were real congenial and remained calm,” Engler said.
Early crowd estimates put attendance at more than 12,000 with the Green Valley shoreline packed with families. Mayor Kenny Evans said he entertained two members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, a state representative and a state senator and they all “just had a ball.”
One compared it to the show over Tempe Town Lakes, but Evans pointed out that show is 45 minutes while Payson packs more punch with the same show in 35 minutes.
Tourism Director Cameron Davis said this year’s show attracted roughly 3,000 more spectators and set a new record for the number of visits to the town’s parks and recreation Web site.
“It was very, very good,” he said. “Our Fourth of July continues to be the event that really showcases our community to the fullest extent.”
Davis praised the efforts of the police, fire and parks and recreation departments for “a great job.”
“This event was done the right way to make sure everyone was taken care of and safe,” he said.
The only thing that broke in fact was Davis’ tug-of-war rope due to the number of competitors.
For Tonto Rim Search and Rescue squad, there were no missions this weekend, due in part to the Forest Service’s decision to close access to Fossil Creek due to the fire danger.
In Pine, there was one brush fire early Sunday morning south of town, but crews quickly contained it to a 10th of an acre. The human-caused blaze is still under investigation, said P-S Fire Chief David Staub.
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