Judging from the crowd at Wednesday night’s Red, White and Boom celebration, you would never have guessed that it was only July 3.
Thousands of festival-goers flocked to downtown Davenport and Schwiebert Riverfront Park in Rock Island to listen to good music, munch on carnival food and, of course, watch the fireworks.
Many were dressed to the nines in their best, and sometimes wacky, patriotic gear.
Joann Norales, a systems analyst at the Rock Island Arsenal, donned a red, white and blue lei and a headband that had two firework-like streamers.
Norales said she always dresses up for the Fourth — and every other holiday.
A California native and Army veteran, Norales said she was happy and proud to attend the independence celebration to listen to music and watch fireworks.
Other people who milled around 2nd Street in Davenport wore sparkly skirts, patriotic T-shirts, and red, white and blue Uncle Sam hats.
Recent flooding on the Mississippi River prompted event organizers to launch the fireworks from the Centennial Bridge rather than from a barge in the river.
On the Davenport side, events were moved from LeClaire Park to 2nd Street between Main and Ripley streets.
People crowded around the stage to hear the Spirit of the USO, a band that played everything from Lionel Ritchie and Tom Petty to Katy Perry and Bruno Mars.
Families waited in line to take turns at the bouncy slide and face painting. Kids also played games, colored pictures and received balloon hats.
As darkness fell, people found spots in and along the streets to watch the multi-colored displays fill the night sky.
It’s the family activities and fireworks that bring Debbie Cunningham to Red, White and Boom each year.
“We just really enjoy it, and it’s fun for the kids,” she said.
Cunningham, a Davenport native, brought her three grandchildren to downtown Davenport. The youngest is 5-month-old Reyna Dawn Anthony, who is celebrating her first Fourth of July. Reyna, dressed in a red, white and blue dress with stars, seemed to be enjoying the activity, Cunningham said.
“She seems to like (the festival) pretty well,” Cunningham said.
Event organizers also paid a special tribute to veterans and the Rock Island Arsenal during a short ceremony.
At the USO tent, festival-goers filled out postcards for deployed soldiers. The postcards were placed in a large, camouflage-painted box for safe keeping.
By 8 p.m., the box was nearly full, said USO volunteer Richard Straub of Orion, Ill.
“It’s been tremendous to see that a lot of people want to write something,” he said.
After the fireworks ended, intersections in downtown Rock Island and Davenport were packed with pedestrians and vehicles.
Motorists leaving the Rhythm City Casino parking lot at the intersection of River Drive and Brady Street in Davenport moved slowly through the flooded street.
Police were out in force on foot, car and motorcycle to direct traffic and keep an eye out for problems.
Despite the increase in activity, traffic moved smoothly, said Davenport Police Capt. Paul Sikorski said.
“It’s actually going as expected,” he said.