July 8, 2011
Editor, The Friday Flyer
When it comes to the 4th of July, there’s no place like home. Many proclaimed Monday’s fireworks “the best ever,” and Canyon Lake lived up to its reputation as a party town, where not even a summer thunderstorm of epic proportions could dampen the fun. According to Canyon Lake weatherman Pat Elliano, the Monday afternoon deluge dropped .79 inches of rain in about 20 minutes.
In spite of larger-than-usual crowds, Canyon Lake Police Lt. Daniel Hedge, Community Patrol Manager Vince Schiavi and Special Enforcement Manager Ivan Henery said there were no significant incidents to report. Ivan said there were fewer illegal fireworks than usual. Among his officers’ concerns over the weekend was patrolling for illegal activity in the North Ski Area and Back Bay by non-residents.
Getting people into the gates seemed to be the biggest challenge of the day, with traffic backing up at all three gates, according to Vince Schiavi. Impatient residents entering the North Gate via the exit lane posed a safety hazard – a situation that occurs each 4th of July and Thanksgiving holiday and could result in a fine of $500 per occurrence, he says.
Scattered power outages were cause for dismay in some neighborhoods over the weekend – especially with sweltering temperatures as high as 110 degrees and parties planned at some of the homes.
As the rain began and thunder started rumbling Monday afternoon, a few boats scurried to the shoreline. But most residents who reported from boats, parks and homes overlooking the Lake said people continued skiing, wakeboarding and playing in/on the water. Even when taking cover under an easy-up or boat bimini, it was impossible to escape the driving rain, as volunteer photographer Bert Barbay can attest.
Bert says he was snapping photos in all the community parks Monday and had stopped by Sierra Park when the storm hit. He and another man took cover under a canopy belonging to someone else. They tried to hold it down in the wind, but it got away from them and blew into the Lake. Bert’s camera bag got wet – enough so that his camera wasn’t working for the fireworks that night.
Later in the day, Bert joined his wife, Kathy, and a big group of friends and neighbors from the Chair Volleyball Club in a corner of Holiday Harbor they reserved in last week’s lottery. As dusk fell and a crescent moon shown above Skippers Island, groups large and small filled the picnic areas and grassy hillside of the park – a sight that was repeated at other parks and waterfront properties overlooking the Main Lake in preparation for the big event.
On the Lake, hundreds of boats maneuvered into position with their running lights reflecting in the water – a lovely sight and sound that is difficult to describe and even more difficult to photograph. From the Pool deck, DJ Mike Shroyer played music that could be heard across the Main Lake. Just before 9 p.m., he reminded Canyon Lakers of the meaning for their celebration – the birth of America – and of the troops still serving around the world.
He specifically mentioned former Canyon Lake resident U.S. Army Sgt. Nigel Kelly, 26, killed in action in Afghanistan on June 25. In honor of Nigel and all the troops, Tara Miller sang “God Bless America,” followed by the National Anthem.
And then the fireworks began, featuring almost 20 minutes of non-stop explosions and patriotic music by Pyro Spectaculars. To see videos and additional photos of the fireworks, thunderstorm and other 4th of July action provided by residents, visit The Friday Flyer’s Facebook page and fridayflyer.com.
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