Irving—The Irving Independence Day celebration welcomed thousands of people to the newly created Levy Event Plaza on July 4 with fireworks exploded over Lake Carolyn.
Visitors could purchase a spectrum of food, relax in a beer garden, and explore a kids play area. Three bands graced the new plaza stage, providing a lively backdrop to the event. The fireworks show got underway around 9:30 p.m. with music provided by 98.7 KLUV.
“We’re excited to be here this year,” Irving mayor Rick Stopfer said. “Several years ago, when we first purchased the property, we had the event here, but we had problems with fire ants and everything else. We really didn’t have a place for everybody to be. During COVID, we were able to really use the dollars needed to fix it up, and now, it’s all been re-sodded and irrigated.
“It’s great to see people out. I think people are realizing this is the first time they’ve been able to get out and socialize and not have to worry about masks and social distancing. I think everybody’s excited to be out and that’s what makes the difference.
“There’s a steady stream of people coming in. I think by the time we’re done, it’s going to be standing room only.”
People came out by the droves. There were folks with their pooches, large groups of families and friends, and couples who lounged on their blankets.
“We come here every year,” Trisha Thompson said. “We bring the whole family. We love the band and the fireworks and of course, the laughter.”
“I’m so glad they [brought back this event] because everybody has been waiting on it,” Thompson’s mother-in-law, Aretha Stitt, said. “It’s a safe place to go. We definitely don’t have issues and there are no problems, just enjoyment.”
Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey spoke to officers and kept a lookout for places that might need a police presence.
“We’re very involved [with this event],” Spivey said. “We started working with the Parks Department and all of the different departments within the city that had a hand in setting this up and executing it, ensuring that our residents and our visitors have a great time.
“To pull something off this large, it takes everyone pulling together. We have traffic and transportation out here. You have the Parks Department, the Police Department, the Fire Department, and you have streets [to block off and patrol]. There’s so many different touches that have to happen in order to help our patrons.
“This is our first year to be out here doing this at the new Levy Plaza, and we want to showcase it and have everybody have a wonderful time and be safe. Then they can look forward to coming back next year.
“I really expect the crowd to continue coming in and growing. I think we were anticipating around 10,000 before the night was over, and I don’t see why we won’t [meet or exceed that number].”
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