A bright confetti of sparkles exploded over Beaver Stadium last night as the 64th annual 4th Fest brought colors, music, excitement and patriotism.
The event included rides, food and live music in the area surrounding Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center. 4th Fest also featured a host of events such as a 4K race and, for the first time ever, a parade.
People were dressed from head to toe in red, white and blue to show their pride.
4th Fest Executive Director Bernie Keisling, who said the event typically sees anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 people, said he was pleased with the night's turnout, especially for a Wednesday night.
Sara Ware (freshman-public relations) said she was particularly excited by the fireworks.
"I felt like everyone here watching was connected," Ware said. "I felt there was a sense of patriotism. Everyone was here for one reason to watch the fireworks and celebrate what this day is all about."
Maria Wolfel (freshman-nutrition) said she really enjoyed the combination of a historical monologue with the start of the fireworks.
"I really hate history, but when I was listening to it while watching the fireworks, I thought it was the coolest thing I've ever seen," Wolfel said. "It put me in the moment and made me think about it."
Patriotic musical selections accompanied the fireworks and specific events in the fireworks were in time with the music.
"I liked when they played made in 'America' by Toby Keith," said George Konel (senior-architecture). "He's such a great performer, and to incorporate him with the fireworks with the red, white and blue every time the chorus came on. It's awesome -- truly patriotic."
The end of the fireworks was met with resounding applause.
The heroes parade, which started at the State College Borough building and finished at the Dickinson School of Law building, included clowns, roller derby girls, old military vehicles, Girl Scouts and a German band.
For Laura Daube (freshman-political science), the parade was particularly memorable.
"I really liked the derby girls in the parade," Daube said. "It was cool. They were riding around on roller blades and seeing them trucking it up Shortlidge was fun."
The 4K race started at 9 a.m., and the 1,100 people participating in the event took a route around Beaver Stadium and the surrounding campus.
"The runners seemed to love the race course, and they loved seeing each other," Keisling said, adding that the race had to be changed this year to construction around Shields Building.
Keisling also said that the event could not have happened without the 550 volunteers who put in 11,000 hours of unpaid time to make this event a reality.
"It's an overwhelmingly good feeling to organize and execute a patriotic birthday party of this size and scope," Keisling said. "The community and the town gets behind this in such a big way."
For many, 4th Fest is an annual tradition, but for others it was the start of something new.
Joyce Lee, previously a native of Canada, received her citizenship this past year and was celebrating her first Fourth of July as an American citizen.
"It feels authentic," Lee (junior-biochemisty and molecular biology) said. "For the first time I don't feel like I'm faking it. I've been living in the U.S. for a really long time. I just wasn't a citizen."