It wasn't hard to spot the patriotism at the Fourth of July festivities downtown Wednesday. With one of the nation's largest American flags blanketing the mountains, area residents came out sporting their best red, white and blue outfits to show their support for the country and to enjoy good food, music and fireworks.
Bill Henry Sr., of Williamsport, came sporting a towering, Dr. Seuss-like hat that was covered in stars and stripes.
"They call me 'Uncle Sam,' " he said. "I bought this hat at a Mummer's Day Parade a few years ago. I come for the music and the fireworks but I also come to celebrate the freedom of our country and the people who fight for our country."
Above, patrons crowd William Street as the huge American flag hands between two cranes along the river for the city’s Fourth of July celebration Wednesday.
There were more than a few American soldiers there as well, including Bill Jones, of Muncy Valley, who served in Vietnam and was wearing a "Proud to be an American" T-shirt.
"I come out every year for this," he said. "Between me and my three other brothers, we have more than 100 years in the service."
Marion Peach, of Williamsport, who touted several patriotic pins, echoed this sentiment.
"I love the United States," she said. "And I love coming here because it's pretty. I'm having a lot of fun."
Along with vendors selling gyros, funnel cakes and Italian Ice, the Backyard Broadcasting stage kicked off the day with a performance by Uptown Music Collective, who performed songs including Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times" and Peter Frampton's "Do you Feel Like We Do?"
About UMC, Michele Koons, of Williamsport, said, "I love these kids. They're fabulous."
Ralph Kuhn, of Carlisle, who also was enjoying the music, said, "It's a very good show. I've been here the last couple of years and have enjoyed it every time."
Eric Newton, of Watsontown, came to explore the outdoor festivities for the first time.
"It's very nice," he said. "But it's too bad they don't have a giant AC to cool the place."
Chris Romney, another first-timer who recently moved to the city from Columbus, Ohio, said, "I came out because I'm new in town and I thought I'd check it out."
Along with all the sun, food and music, attendees, of course, were all looking forward to the big finale at the end of the night.
Tiffany Brown, of Williamsport, whose whole family was decked out in red American flag shirts, said, "We came to see the fireworks and we hope everyone has fun but we also hope it's safe and no one gets out of control."
In show business, there is an old saying that "The show must go on."
So was the case Wednesday night when a brief downpour certainly put a damper on the Center City fireworks display, but it did not force the cancellation of the much-anticipated annual event titled "Set the Night to Music."
Lightning and sporadic raindrops, which began to fall minutes before the start of the "Fireworks Extravaganza," was enough to drive many spectators back to their cars before the show.
Bob Keefer, a retired physics professor at the Pennsylvania College of Technology now living in Florida, and a friend, Janet Sherman, were among those leaving early.
The two were disappointed not to see the fireworks, but "We're not going to chance it," Keefer said.
"We're thinking of going to the school on Four Mile Drive (The Donald E. Schick Elementary School) and watching it from the parking lot. It's at the top of a hill," Sherman said.
"We got to go, because it's getting bad," Keefer said.
Lisa Winter was heading back to her car early with her 3-year-old daughter, Aniyah, and 2-year-old son, Namire.
"It's about to rain, and we don't want to get rained on," said a disappointed Winter, who arrived downtown three hours before the 9:40 p.m. show.
"My children are finally old enough now to watch the fireworks so I knew they were excited," the mother said. However, all was not lost.
"I told them we would go home and watch them from our front porch," said Winter, who lives on Memorial Avenue.
Within minutes after the show started, a quick downpour swept into the area.
However, for the thousands who stayed to see the fireworks, they were treated to "two shows, one man-made and another God-made," according to Eileen Musheno.
She and her husband, Paul, a retired Williamsport police lieutenant, watched from under an overhang at the front of the Federal Court House on West Third Street.
"The lightning activity is almost as good as the fireworks. It's gorgeous," Mrs. Musheno said.
"I think that is his (God's) way of showing us that he has more power no matter what we do," her husband added.