Archived Story

Smith: Celebrations just aren’t the same away from home

Published 7:35am Friday, July 4, 2014

As I walked around the Bandshell Park for the Fourth of July festivities Thursday, I couldn’t help but feel a sting of nostalgia. Attending these activities as a child was liberating and it used to seem like there were endless things to do. But as I got older, I was bored of seeing the same performances, eating the same food, and playing the same games as I had many years before. I didn’t truly appreciate it until the first and only year I missed it.

When I was 12, my family decided to get out of town and try something new for the Fourth of July weekend. So we packed up our van, hooked up the camper, and left. Up until that point, my family and I had never missed the Austin Freedom Fest, so when we went to the festivities in Spring Valley, it felt strange. My mom even recalls it “not really feeling like the Fourth” because we weren’t with our friends back in Austin. We missed seeing our favorite annual floats in the parade, and listening to the music at the Bandshell while fireworks were fired off overhead.

After that, we decided we would never missed another Freedom Fest in Austin. The parade, fireworks, and other activities in Austin have become a staple in our Fourth of July tradition.

As I grow up and move out of Austin, I will probably end up missing a few celebrations here and there. But the only true Fourth of July will be in Austin with the food, games and events I’ve known and loved for a long time.

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