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Fire company’s annual fundraiser offers lake’s largest over-water fireworks display.
Jerry Wimmer, lead singer of The Worx, leaves the stage to joke with Ashbie Briggs of Martinsville Saturday at Saunders Fourth of July event. Briggs came to the annual event with her grandmother.
Jason, Jessie and 14-month-old Avery Reed of Powhatan vacationed at the lake with friends. Jason Reed is a Henrico County fireman and came to support his friends in the Saunders Fire Company.
Ashley Schley and Reagan, 1, of Bedford Saturday at Parkway Marina waited all day for the fireworks show to begin.
Dennis Norwood checks on meat in the smoker attached to the mobile barbecue unit he operates with wife Jackie Saturday at Parkway Marina. The couple from Rocky Mount, North Carolina sets up on Brooks Mill and Burnt Chimney during the week selling their Old Fashioned North Carolina BBQ.
The crowds gather at Saunders annual fireworks event Saturday.
Travis Baxter, 11, of Goode looks for potential customer Saturday. His club baseball team VA ELITE Red Sox is raising money so they can fund travel to games. The team draws players from all over southwest Virginia.
Brandon McKee tosses a bean bag Saturday during a game of cornhole with teammate Cory Blankenship. Both friends are from Hardy and insist this was a friendly game.
Bobby Walker, Kyle Prah, Crystal West, Amanda Millington, Brian Davis and Courtney Goodbar of Lynchburg Saturday at Saunders annual fireworks event.
Miki and Samantha, 8, St. Clair grabbed a slice of pizza Saturday at Saunders annual fundraiser.
Friday, July 12, 2013
As the sun went down Saturday, crowds continued to arrive at Saunders Volunteer Fire Company’s annual Independence Day fundraiser. Earlier, people brought their blankets and lawn chairs and set them down on a good spot of grass at Parkway Marina. Others found a good spot on the water to anchor their boats and wait for the fireworks.
Thunder, lightning and persistent rain caused the show to start early — about 9:30 p.m., and forced people to head for their cars to avoid an all-too-familiar downpour.
Before the rain, The Worx performed crowd-pleasing covers, and a dozen laughing children rode the carousel while families and friends waited for the lake’s largest over-water fireworks display, a fundraiser for Saunders Volunteer Fire Company in Huddleston.
Brandon McKee of Hardy played cornhole, or as he calls it, “the best game ever,” with friends. Some visitors danced, while others grabbed a cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade to go with their plate of Old Fashioned North Carolina BBQ.
The Staunton River High School football team used the opportunity to raise money by selling chili dogs and hamburgers, while the Virginia Elite Red Sox baseball team sold beads and glow necklaces.
The event had its share of first-time event-goers.
Brian Davis of Lynchburg has a boat dock on the lake and came down for the weekend with a group of friends. He said he noticed the staff setting up the fireworks earlier in the day and decided to come over and check it out.
Others, such as Eva Powell of Martinsville, have been coming for many years. Powell sat with her family near the water and watched her grandson, Derick.
Though it was the toddler’s first time at the event, Powell said she remembers bringing his mother when she was about his age.
“It’s sort of become a tradition,” she said.
They hadn’t been able to come out for the last couple of years but had previously attended every year for about two decades.
Parkway Marina sponsored the first event in 1991. Ten years later, Saunders took over planning and staffing for the fireworks event. The fire company collected $10 per car for parking during its biggest fundraiser. Money will be used to replace equipment and expand coverage on the lake.
Mike Wachter, treasurer of the fire company, called the turnout pretty good despite the rainy weather. He said the amount of money raised likely was less than in 2012.
“We’re very grateful for the community. It was successful due to their efforts,” he said, adding that it takes the whole community to put on an event such as this.